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Circuit Breaker

Alexa briefly lost its voice on Friday

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Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa went quiet Friday in an unintended, real world reproduction of the company’s Super Bowl ad. A regional outage impacting Amazon’s servers led to Alexa becoming unresponsive on Echo products and other devices that support the assistant. I tried a simple weather inquiry on the Echo Dot in my living room, and the signature blue ring stayed lit up for about 15 seconds without any answer. A tone eventually sounded, and Alexa said it had lost connection. Subsequent attempts also failed, producing a red ring accompanied by Alexa asking me to try again later.

By mid-afternoon, Alexa had returned to normal and was responding to voice commands again. The issue was likely tied to troubles Friday with Amazon Web Services. Slack and other applications that depend on AWS as a backbone experienced downtime earlier in the day. “There was a loss of power to one of AWS’s redundant internet connection points in Virginia that created connectivity issues for a small number of AWS customers who are using Direct Connect services in AWS US East,” an Amazon spokesperson said. “AWS resolved the issue and is working with its partner to prevent recurrence.”