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Apple Podcasts now available on Echo devices in the US

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Apple Podcasts are since today available on Alexa-enabled Amazon devices in the United States, Amazon and Apple announced today.

To make Apple Podcasts the preferred podcast provider with Alexa, users can set Apple Podcasts as the default podcast provider in the Alexa app. The option is available in Settings, Music & Podcasts, and link/manage new services.

To play a podcast on Echo devices, users have to say:

  • “Alexa, play [podcast title] on Apple Podcasts.”
  • “Alexa, play [podcast title] from yesterday on Apple Podcasts.”
  • “Alexa, skip ahead 30 seconds.”
  • “Alexa, play the previous episode. ”
  • “Alexa, fast forward 30 seconds.”

According to Amazon, there are over 800,000 shows available on Apple Podcasts. eMarketer estimated that in 2019, 112 million people in the US used a voice assistant at least monthly, up 9.5% from last year, the equivalent to 39.4% of internet users and 33.8% of the total population. eMarketer data also shows that Amazon Echo devices have around 67% market share, while Google has 30%.

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AMAZON

Amazon’s AWS logs third outage this month, affecting Slack, Epic Games Store, Asana and more

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Amazon’s crucial web services business AWS is experiencing problems today, with issues affecting services like Slack, Imgur, and the Epic Games store for some users. It’s not looking good if you’re working from home, with some Slack users unable to view or upload images, and work management tool Asana also hit by the outages. As of 6:13 AM PST, Amazon said it had restored power to affected servers, but users may still experience issues going forward.

In an incident update, Slack said its services were “experiencing issues with file uploads, message editing, and other services.” Asana said the problems constituted a “major outage,” with “many of our users unable to access Asana.” Epic Games Store said “Internet services outages” were “affecting logins, library, purchases, etc.”

It’s the third time in as many weeks that problems with AWS have had a significant effect on online services. Two incidents earlier this month involving AWS ended up knocking out a huge array of platforms and products, taking out streaming sites like Netflix and Disney Plus as well as smart home devices like security cameras from Ring and Wyze.

Today’s outages seem less widespread but still notable, with some users unable to access services entirely and others merely experiencing intermittent faults. DownDetector.com shows reports of issues with the platforms mentioned above, as well as news aggregator Flipboard, online learning site Udemy, dating app Grindr, streaming service Hulu, and IoT services from Honeywell, Life360, and Samsung’s SmartThings.

The official AWS service health dashboard blamed the issues on power outages in a single data center, affecting one Availability Zone (USE1-AZ4) within the US-EAST-1 Region. At 6:13 AM PST, the company said it had restored power to the data center and was making progress recovering the affected instances. However, users will likely continue to notice the effects of these outages for a while longer while systems are updated and restored.

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Update Wednesday, December 22nd, 8:36AM ET: Updated story to add responses from affected services.

Update Wednesday, December 22nd, 9: 34AM ET: Updated story to note that AWS has restored to power to the affected data center.

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