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Google “Asleep At Wheel” During Week Long Aussie Radio Outage

Millions of Australians who rely on their Google smart speakers to access radio services were left baffled, as a weeklong outage plagued the system.

The Commercial Radio and Audio’s chief executive officer Ford Ennals has slammed Google for being “asleep at the wheel” during the outage, which was reported on April 6.

Google has a partnership with the CRA that requires 400 Australian commercial stations, along with the ABC and SBS network, to be available through Google’s voice command system.

Given the Google ecosystem stretches across Android phone devices, in-car systems, and Google’s range of smart speakers — not to mention the third-party systems using Google’s smart home ecosystem — this left a huge chunk of the commercial radio audience unable to tune in.

“There ought to be an obligation and a responsibility on the digital platforms such as Google and Amazon that they can guarantee local radio services, they can’t be asleep at the wheel and have no radio services for a week,” Ennals told The Australian.

“Google have had a week where they wouldn’t have been able to meet that responsibility.

“Radio is an essential service and with more and more Australians listening via streaming, this issue highlights the significant role that tech global platforms have in making radio services reliable and easy to access.

“If you turn on a radio … radio broadcasts are always there, they don’t go away for a week, but here millions of Australians were deprived of their ability to hear their radio services on Google smart speakers.

“We are pleased services are now up and running and we will work with Google to understand what went wrong and how such issues can be resolved more quickly in the future.”

Google simply said in a statement: “The issue has been mitigated and all radio stations are back online.”

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