Amazon has good news for Kindle Fire owners: the Silk web browser is now faster and more responsive than ever.
Since its last major update in September, a number of small under-the-hood improvements have given the software a boost, but this iteration includes a whole new look.
Based on feedback from Kindle Fire users, the Amazon Silk team has revamped the user interface with the intention of making the browser easier and more intuitive to use. Among the changes: a new tutorial, redesigned tabs, improved browser controls, simpler navigation options, and easier access to the Reading View feature.
A Silk Developer Guide also comes with the update.
"Our goal with the Silk redesign is to provide a faster, more fluid, and more elegant browsing experience to help customers discover and rediscover the content that matters to them," the Amazon team wrote in a blog post.
Silk is a "split browser" that partially lives on the Fire tablet and partially lives in the cloud, producing a faster browsing experience. Basically, most of the heavy lifting is handled by Amazon's EC2 and C3 services.
With this week's update, users will find a new start page, as well, easily accessed via the app carousel or the web option at the top of the screen. The page opens a new tab with an empty address bar and a display of most visited links; just tap the address bar to access the keyboard.
Reading View — Amazon's effort to de-clutter the web browser — has also got a boost: the option is now easier to find on the page, touting a bright green icon at the top of the screen. Turn on Reading View, and Silk automatically loads multi-page articles in a single-screen format, eliminating the related links, advertisements, and other distracting material.
The new Silk UI also features a left panel menu with options previously scattered across the browser. Either tap the three lines in the upper left or swipe the screen from left to right to call up the menu, which includes shortcuts to most-visited links, bookmarks, downloads, history, and trending topics, as well as settings and help.
Additionally, the latest Silk release also includes performance enhancements.
"Of course, these improvements are just a start," the company said. "We're in the early days of Amazon Silk, and there's plenty of work still to do. Our goal is continuous improvement."