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Amazon Alexa crashed on Christmas in Europe amid surge of new users

Amazon Alexa suffered an outage in Europe on Christmas morning — which was particularly bad timing as thousands of users turned on their holiday presents for the first time.

Several smart speaker users were greeted by an automated response from Alexa telling them the system was not working.

“Sorry, I’m having trouble understanding you right now,” the message said, according to the Guardian.

The crash occurred around 10 a.m. GMT, leading confused users to tweet at Amazon.

Some social media users complained the crash was dampening their holiday plans.

Complaints to outage tracking website Outage Report also surged around the same time, with most of the reports coming from the United Kingdom, Italy and France.

Amazon responded to some complaints on Twitter hours later, saying that there were connection issues with some devices but that the issue was resolved.

Global News reached out to Amazon to ask whether the surge in new users caused the outage but did not hear back by publication.

Amazon did, however, boast about a record number of sales during the holidays. The company said it sold millions more of its own devices this season than in previous years.

In Canada, Amazon’s bestselling product was the Echo Dot.

Business Insider also reported that the mobile app for Amazon’s Echo Dot was the most downloaded on Christmas in both the Apple App Store and Google Play store.

While a popular holiday gift, the Amazon Alexa has been the centre of some peculiar reports in the past.

Most recently, in Germany, the voice assistant got access to more than 1,000 recordings from another user because of a “human error” by the company.

The customer had asked to listen back to recordings of his own activities made by Alexa, but he was also able to access 1,700 audio files from a stranger when Amazon sent him a link, German trade publication c’t reported.

In another incident, the device recorded one U.S. family’s conversations and sent them to a friend — without them knowing.

—With a file from Reuters

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