sf-directions.gifThe Kindle Basic Web browser: Some Kindle owners take advantage of the free, included, 24/7 cellular wireless when in the car, without a GPS unit or suitable map, and wanting to find out how to get somewhere. The information below also includes options for walking, using local transit, and bicyling.

Since these are text navigation directions rather than maps, they load quickly and you can enlarge the font for those.

A shortcut to get to the Directions website is at the bottom.

I haven’t tried any map pages from the non-device-specific mobile-unit Google Maps page used here but was moved to get the information updated tonight after being told in an email that the steps given in the past guide no longer work.

A thanks to Roger Hagen, whose quite beautiful work in documentary photography I was pleased to view here (with a poignant story on the first entry) and at his overall site here.

When you’ve been busy using the Kindle for a number of things, sometimes the first attempt at web-browsing will cause the Kindle to reboot to clear memory for a clean start. After that, it should be fine.

Here is the traditional way to get to the web browser (non-shortcut)

1. Press the Menu button and select “Experimental” option at the bottom.

2. Click on “Basic Web.”

3. At the Web browser page (although it may take you to bookmarks page instead),

the screen may show “Advanced” or “Desktop” at top center as your browsing mode. However, “Basic mode” will work with these text-only directions and is generally faster than “Advanced” or “Desktop” mode” when you don’t need to use the non-Basic mode. (The ‘Desktop’ word is used by DX’s) You can press Menu/Settings to choose “Basic” if you want, but it’s ok either way.

TIP 1. If you’ve been busy on the Kindle, it might be good to press MENU botton, select Settings option here and click on “Clear Cache” to have more memory available for the web-browsing session. Not necessary though.

Press MENU button to choose “Go to Top” or “Enter URL”

These get you to the top line to type a link or URL

4. TYPE:

5. Five-way to the right until you get “GoTo” and then press down on that.

That should fetch the Google maps text directions page for you.

(A SHORTCUT for Steps 1-5 is at the bottom of the page.)

6. Press the Menu button to BOOKMARK this page the first time so that you don’t have to type this URL again.

Note: There is a “change location” link on the page; this lets you change your default current city location, which helps for other searches you do later (restaurants, etc.).
AND it means that if your From-To addresses are in that same city, you don’t have to type the city or state info.

7. Then you can use your 5-way button/cursor to get, slowly, to the input boxes to enter, into the From: and To: boxes, street address and, if needed, city, 2-character state (or zip) for step-by-step directions to your destination. (Commas are often not needed, as Google maps is quite smart that way.)

8. 5-way to the right to choose ‘By car’ … ‘By transit’ … ‘Walking’ … ‘Bicycling’

(You press down on the 5-way when you see the one you want to use.)

9. 5-way to the right to click (down) on Search.

The Kindle browser will get you the step-by-step directions pretty quickly.

Sometimes, the directions take you the long way but it’s better than being lost.

It’s also possible to use the Aa text-key at the bottom of the keyboard to increase or decrease the size of the fonts for this. But I’ve found that the default ‘3’ works best for normal spacing planned for the webpage..

When the font-size change is requested, the web-page has to re-draw the page from the Net, so it takes longer than when you do this on a book.

TIP 2. Normally, when you’re shown results that are one-page long, you can’t “go back” to where you were without pressing the “BACK” button, which always takes you back to the last place from which you “jumped” (almost always by clicking on a link: a jump to another area).

Amazon has added two small, black left and right arrows at the top left.

These are like normal computer web browser back/fwd buttons, and they work here in the way you’d expect.

If you want to go back and forth without losing the information on the search results page, you can go up to the left arrow and click on it to bring you to the page that shows you what your search input was.
After checking that, you can then click on the right-arrow above this time and check again your search results.

The ‘BACK’ button would have taken you back with no way to get back to the search results.

All of this presents no maps though. I’ll check on what will work with the Kindles, and if anyone has found solutions for that, let me know in the Comments area here or at andrys1 [at] yahoo.com and if it works for me I can write up your recommendations.

Let me know if you have any problems with this.

ADDENDUM for KINDLE 2 and KINDLE DX USERS: (first added 7/25/09 in the previous guide)
There is a shortcut for getting to a URL from the Home Screen.

The traditional way was shown above.

INSTEAD of 1 through 5 above:

1. Start typing a URL.

This will bring up the tubular text-input ‘box’ at the bottom.

2. TYPE in:

3. Five-way to the right until you get “GoTo” and then press down on that.

You’ll be placed right on the Google maps text-directions page.

Then go to Step 6 (or to Step 7 if you’ve already bookmarked it previously).

TIP 3. ANOTHER ALTERNATIVE SHORTCUT to the one above, but THIS time
we’ll go to the main OVERALL Google mobile maps text page
which has a very similar URL: maps.google.com/m (that simple).

NOTE: You’ll need to use the SYM key at bottom right of keyboard to get any unusual characters such as the ‘@” sign in the example below.

1. Press Enter key (below the DEL key)

This brings up the tubular text-input ‘box’ at the bottom (there is no way to type the ‘@’ symbol to bring up the searchbox).

2. TYPE in:
@url maps.google.com/m

3. Press merely Enter-key (below DEL key) to choose the default “Search my items” that you can see on the right as the current option.

You’ll be placed right on the Google maps overall info page.

This second method of getting to a URL from the Home page makes you use the SYM key for the “@” sign, which is a slowdown.
But it also allows you to just press the Enter key instead of 5-waying several times to the right.


You can type in the URL while reading a book or article, with one added step.
IF your cursor is NOT on the screen.
Then start typing a character, such as ‘a’ — that brings up the search box, while just pressing ‘Enter’ key doesn’t in this case.
Delete that one character from the resulting Searchbar and type
@url maps.google.com/m or whatever website url (use NO “http://”) and then
5-way to the right just once, to “my items” and click on that.

After finishing with the website, press ‘Back’ key to return to the book page you were on.

Am hoping that the above wasn’t one alternative too many!

Editor’s Note: the above is reprinted from Andrys Basten’s A Kindle World Blog. PB


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