The Kindle Cloud Reader allows you to read Kindle books on a Windows PC or Mac using the Google Chrome or Safari web browsers, on Linux computers using Google Chrome, and on an iPad using the Safari web browser. It enables Kindle users to read their Kindle books in the browser “almost without having to install anything” on their devices, “almost” because Chrome users are asked to install optional browser extension that enables offline reading and Safari users are asked to extend 50 megabytes of browser database storage to the web-app for the same purposes. However, I see the reading offline functions as one of the best things about Kindle Cloud. When you’re stuck without a wireless connection all of your books are still at your fingertips without having to download an app to your smartphone, iPad, and laptop or even have a Kindle. Airports anyone? There are some features that are missing from the app and Kindle reader as pointed out by the Unofficial Kindle Blog: While you can read the books in the browser (if your browser is supported), the following features are not available:
- Taking new notes and highlighting (though previous annotations are visible)
- Searching within the book (or your book collection). You can however search within the page using browser search function (Ctrl-F)
- Text-to-speech is not there. Given how complex the HTML document structure is (iframes within iframes and a lot of nested tags) I’m not sure if screen reader software will be able to handle it.
If you are a physician and have your favorite reference texts available in Kindle format there may be disadvantages if your computers aren’t already equipped with Chrome since Medical Centers are usually on a very secure network due to patient information confidentiality and you cannot just download programs to the desktops. Other disadvantages would be if you wanted to highlight or leave a note to yourself in the book for future reference, you would not be able to do that, as well as not being able to search the book or book library for quick reference. But, it does keep you from having to install the Kindle reader if you work on multiple work stations or carry your iPad or Kindle with you.
Since I am already a loyal Chrome user, the browser compatibility isn’t a big deal to me, but I can see how many are being left out with Internet Explorer and Firefox being two of the biggest browser names and they are not as of yet, and may never be, supported by the Kindle Cloud Reader. So, for personal use I see this as a great addition to the Kindle lineup. I love not having to download any applications and having access to read my Kindle books on any computer I’m using and not worry about running my smartphone battery down reading from an app or having my personal computer with me. If you’d like learn more Information about the Kindle Cloud Reader you can visit Amazon’s website, The Unofficial Kindle Blog or Technorati.