For those of you who are not at work at the moment, and are at home to talk to your Amazon-issued
eavesdropping device smart speaker, please try not to freak out at what I'm about to tell you. Alexa services are down across the UK and parts of Europe, so now you can't ask the virtual person living inside your home whether or not they can order you a taxi.
Users at Down Detector have been reporting problems with Alexa across the continent, with the map showing large splotches of red concentrated in the South East of England and various parts of Germany.
Apparently there have been ongoing issues since around 8am this morning, and have yet to be sorted out at the time of writing. We tested a number of Alexa devices to see what was happening, finding an Echo Speaker and Sonos S1 to be completely dead. An Echo Dot simply said "sorry, I'm having trouble". Similar problems were experienced over at Engadget, suggesting this is the sort of thing Echo users are experiencing all over.
Naturally Amazon's Twitter account is being inundated with tweets about the issues, and has been telling people to try restarting their devices. Apparently that isn't helping, though, and people are being left without their smart speakers and all the voice controls they offer. Thankfully smart home devices can usually be interacted with in other ways, though they aren't nearly as lazy. It involves tapping your phone, or *shudder* getting up and pressing real buttons.
Why there are such widespread issues isn't clear, but I have no doubt that Amazon is scrambling to get everything up and running again. Just be patient and give it time. [Engadget]