Thursday, October 25, 2018


Earlier this year during the Super Bowl, online retailing juggernaut Amazon aired during commercial break a rather hilarious ad for their Alexa home smart speaker. It involves Alexa losing her “voice” for existing users, forcing Amazon to roll out an emergency program roping celebrities like Gordon Ramsay and Cardi B to temporarily sub in for the smart speaker’s responses. A lot of laughs were had perhaps eight months ago, especially owing to the notion that live people would be roped in to help Alexa during a malfunction. Now it seems the commercial’s creators may have foresight considering recent inconvenient events.
Tech Crunch tells us that Amazon Alexa has manifested some problems for its users, and this time there are no famous personalities taking over for “her”. Amazon consumers with Alexa smart speakers in their homes have begun reporting that their devices are not responding to commands for online search, media playback or even utility-appliance operation. While Alexa does register users attempting to talk to her, she always returns the answer of “Sorry, something went wrong.” It is a rather fresh and ongoing development, such that Amazon has yet to say anything about the problem and when it will be resolved.
Down Detector, the online website which tracks outage occurrences of its fellow online service platforms has registered massive outages of Alexa concentrated in the contiguous United States since about morning (PST) of Tuesday, October 23. The greatest concentrations of these service interruptions are in California and the Eastern Seaboard, with smaller blackout areas in Oregon, Florida, Texas and the Great Lakes area. Non-US areas similarly affected, though of a smaller degree, include the UK and parts of Ireland, Germany, western India and South Korea. Some users were able to regain Alexa functionality quickly, while others remain affected with unresponsive devices.
The thing is, this sudden loss of service from Amazon Alexa is not a new occurrence. The earliest incident this year was in March, just one month after the Alexa “lost voice” ad premiered during Super Bowl LII. This was caused by networking bugs on Amazon Web Services. And then, last September, it was Europe that felt the brunt of lost responses from the rather popular home smart speaker, with significant service interruptions in United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, and Australia. Much expected, Alexa users in the US have begun venting their frustrations on the service loss on social media outlets.
Images: Down Detector, Best Buy


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