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Google clarifies Maps position on Windows Phone, will be able to access soon

Yesterday the interwebs went crazy over Google blocking Windows Phone from using their Maps application the web browser. Instead users were redirected to the Google homepage, quite frustrating was that this appeared to be a conscious decision on half of Google. Turns out that was the case and a recent development has been made to rectify the situation for Windows Phone 8 users attempting to access Google Maps on their devices.

In a statement with The Next Web, a Google spokesperson clarified the situation surrounding Google Maps access with Windows Phone and other platforms. The main culprit according to Google was performance. Google stated that earlier versions of Windows Phone didn’t perform to their expectations and resulted in a redirect to the homepage. However, they appear to be fixing this soon for Windows Phone 8 devices as the Mountain View company has found Internet Explorer to be up to par with handling their web app.

Here is the full statement from Google:

“We periodically test Google Maps compatibility with mobile browsers to make sure we deliver the best experience for those users.In our last test, IE mobile still did not offer a good maps experience with no ability to pan or zoom and perform basic map functionality. As a result, we chose to continue to redirect IE mobile users to Google.com where they could at least make local searches. The Firefox mobile browser did offer a somewhat better user experience and that’s why there is no redirect for those users.Recent improvements to IE mobile and Google Maps now deliver a better experience and we are currently working to remove the redirect. We will continue to test Google Maps compatibility with other mobile browsers to ensure the best possible experience for users.”

In the eyes of Google, their decision to restrict access to Windows Phone users wasn’t out of hurting a competition platform, but instead to provide a certain level of service to their products. Take that as you will, it could just be PR talk as Windows Phone 8 has been out for some time.

Currently, you still can’t access Google Maps on a Windows Phone from the web browser, but when they rectify the situation we’ll be sure to let you know.

What do you think? Is Google just trying to avoid bad PR?

Source: The Next Web

197 Comments
  • Do you smell that? Its BS! And its coming from google! Jokes aside: I use Nokia maps not g maps
  • +100
  • I agree.
  • Yep. "Shut 'er down, Clancy, she's pumping mud!" It's really pretty pathetic. It appears that not only do they lack the emotional maturity to face their competition with dignity, but apparently they also lack the balls to stand by their cheap shots.
  • Competition? Are you joking? Would Coca-Cola care about Lewisham-Cola? The number if Nokia Maps users as compared to those who use Google Maps says it all. It'd probably take 15+ years for Nokia Maps to become a serious competitor stains Google Maps. It took GNU/Linux some 20years to challenge Windows dominance, despite well-known weaknesses of MS Windiws (e.g. its famous BOD).
  • Right. Just like it took iPhone and Android 15+ years to be a competitor in the smartphone arena?
  • O RLY then why are they caught with a weak excuse about this webkit thing when they actually deliberately redirected WP users to their homepage? I smell this is a sign of their intimidation, because MS has bigger market outside the US compared to Apple, thus more capable to topple Android. And when people with all these MS products decide to ditch their droids because they want better integration with their MS devices? Bye bye google.
  • Is this a serious argument? Ever heard of Navteq? Windows phones aren't the only ones using Nokia maps. Millions of standalone GPS units, Bing maps, built in navi for car companies with contracts with them (Toyota), the Here app (relatively new), etc. So what was that about competition?
  • Just because more people drive Pontiac Sunfires than Ferarris doesn't mean it's a better product. Same applies here.
  • What part don't people get,Google doesn't have to offer Windows Phone people a damn thing. !!!!!!
  • lol wait.. google is a company? a search base company? earns it money from people using it? and they are restricting people on wp to use it? so that makes good sense that this company is cutting itself off certain people in the market? or should i say incorrect business practice?
    just like when windows doesn't have to offer any other browsers or search engine on the windows?
    but guess what MS got sue n eventually have to offer any browsers and anything that users of windows wanted?
     
  • great.. That means MS should block google and all their services.
  • I think you're missing the big picture.  Were it merely an issue of a mapping application used to determine where one was and how to get someplace, I would whole-heartedly agree with you - they indeed don't have to offer the WP platform anything.  However, many third parties have Google Maps baked into their websites offering directions to their facilities.  It is a problem when you hit the map to zoom into the location of a restaurant, for example, and are instead redirected to the Google website.  If Google is going to permit third parties to use their mapping service on their websites then all browsers should have access to the maps regardless of platform.
  • What do you think can happen if microsoft diceid to block google on windows pc. The big numbre of user in pc and laptop are on windos pr what do you think can happen if microsoft decided  to block outlook user that try to use thers account on any Android :) think on it jeje google lose more than microsoft.
  • they dont have to offer anything, but when they specifically block a service based off the device of a compititor its a different ball game.
  • I tested Lumia 920 vs Galaxy s3 in the html 5 test and there was no competition.. Lumia obviously won
  • I call B.S and I have both phones in my posession and this is not the case. A slight nod goes to the Galaxy hands down but the Lumia is no slouch.
  • I'm more inclined to believe benchmarks over your observation. Sorry
  • Totally agreed with you haha.. google crap is under pressure to make the changes.. I seriously think google need stop these nonsense n release their youtube to WP 8 also
  • Pure bullshit on their part. They got exposed as liars when their webkit argument was proven wrong as changing the user agent string made everything work swell. They got caught with their pants down and had no choice but to backtrack.
  • Well, I'm looking at this positively. This whole debacle ended with alot of PR for the Windows Phone platform. People love rooting for the underdog, especially when he is treated like shit by the big dogs. Maybe...hehe :-P
  • Can only pray that's the case... You've got to remember that they're fuckjng BABIES.. So they'll probably stay away from everything that has to do with windows phone forever.
  • yup, lead by the biggest baby there is Eric Schmidt.
    He spent most of his life at Novell, and Sun - scrabbling to topple Microsoft.
    A total pleb.
  • Sun is and was always a JOKE haha.
    I totally agree. This high school developers against Microsoft bullshit has to stop. There wad a time I couldn't get 3/4's of windows apps on my mac. Mobile is a whole different high school.
  • Eric will be off to North Korea soon to sell all google customers info to them too, so win win. Maybe they will torture him a bit while he's there.
  • This is true in my own kind of way.  I always have been a fan of Android and Windows Mobile/Phone for the modding experiences.  But now, after what Google did, I feel myself becoming a more loyal MS customer.  If Google is going to act like Apple, then why should I support them?  I know this is a capitalist world, but still, WP has 3% market share!!!  Google is like that bully who picks on that less fortunate child.  That may sound like a petty analogy, but it IS TRUE!
  • 3% is sooo sad. It deserves so much more. But at this rate, that number will not grow. Not with this precedent they're setting for other devs. At least I hope not.
  • You're probably correct regarding the U.S market. In fact, even Android is going down in the U.S. But in other parts of the world, WP is growing as we speak.
  • Love you handle
  • Keep up that attitude and don't expect Google to ever do something for this platform. You Windows Phone fanboys need to mature up a little bit. Whether you accept it or not you need Google to survive. The 10-20 people might be happy with the extremely sub-par Hotmail and Outlook, but millions of people out there want Google and Google only. 
    If you really hate Google that much, go and post it all over their forums and email. And watch them block even basic Google search for this platform.
  • Sub par Hotmail and Outlook?  Who needs to mature up again?  
  • Subpar lol I guess you don't mind god knows who reading your email selling your address ehh!!
  • You spelled "superior" wrong, it's not spelled"sub-par". ;)
  • +1 ;)
  • You clearly don't understand the reality of this situation. Google obviously can't and won't pursue much further with these cheap shots. I would say that they've been advised that they were cruising for a big smack down by the regulator and decided to play nice on this one.
  • I wonder if the regulator was involved here.
     
    But Google maps is a pretty irrelevant service for windows phone since it already has two better options (Nokia and Bing, although how much of Bing is Nokia is hard to say).  I think their motivation here was more trying to get market share then offering the competition access to their services.
    Now Youtube though is a different thing, they have a monopoly position (especially since they have dropped their video searches to replace them with Youtube), they will continue to block access to that.
  • We're the ones who need to mature and, yet, you seem to agree that Google will react childishly if we call them out and complain to them? Right.
  • Subpar Hotmail & Outlook.com?! Outlook.com is far superior to Gmail! Hotmail provided me with great service for years.
  • Need google to survive? Subpar Outlook? Did Jobs bequeath the RDF to google fans when he died? The only superior product that google has is search. And its barely hanging on. Gmail, docs, android, YouTube... They may have more users, but the functionality, usability, and security dwindles by the day. We recently entered an innovative swing in tech, and look who is struggling to release meaningful products.... Apple and google. All they can do is buy other products and polish them to look like the competition. Without acquisitions they release stale products. MS however is innovating with things like surface, (keyboard, kick stand, pro edition) smart glass, azure, hyper-v, server 2012, exchange, SharePoint, etc. The reality is that the world could not function without MS yet the sudden disappearance of Google would be nothing more than a minor inconvenience
  • Agree, there is a reason Android is slowly becoming WebOS - which is what they intended when they pretty much hired the entire development and engineering group responsible for WebOS.
  • What?! Becoming webOS are u serious right now? With their monster market share and cloud offerings? 
  • What bullshit nonsense
  • BS, not BS, who cares?
    We've got Nokia maps :)
  • Total BS. It's made a buzz in the tech world and is negative for WinPho
  • They backtracked not because it was negative to WP, but because it was negative to themselves. They exposed themselves as the evil empire they truly are.
  • I don't follow how it is negative for windows phone?
  • Now many ppl will assume google is out.. So they won't switch to WP, therefor we won't grow. Therefor, all the good apps will stay android and IOS, and we will have shit. Even if they DO fix this, google clearly doesn't give a shit about us.
  • MetroTube is better than the YouTube app for Android (except uploading), so...
  • Except uploading lmao. Cuz that's not important ..
  • I only watch not upload
  • It's more like they backtracked because it shed a negative light on them. If the only thing it achieved was cast a negative light on WP, they would not have backtracked and continued on with their course because it has crippled WP for a lot of users. It hasn't affected me because I only use Bing Maps, and now also Here Maps. I also seldom use youtube. Have solely used Bing Search since 3 years ago. And have moved to outlook from gmail.
  • When Apple get their own map fix they will give Google the finger and also lock their on system to not use anything except theirs.
  • The problem is that Apple will never catch up to Google with Maps .
  • I do agree on both parts. Outsiders could and will see it both ways. Negative, positive blahbidyblah.
  • BS, Nonsense. They just had nothing better to say.
  • I wasn't bothered as I used the maps app that comes with WP8. Much better
  • It's sad that some on other sites are now praising Google for bringing maps back after it appears Google intentionally blocked WP from access to them.
  • No joke.
  • You can access it fine from the google UK site. sounds like some bull hockey.
  • im probably sure most of people accessing from Europe was ok, google know they cant pull that bullshit over there cause the EU are not pussies like the FTC.
  • LOL!
  • Google gave FTC a truck loads of Jelly Beans for the family and everything is alright.
  • I TOTALLY agree with you except on your use of profanity and vulgarity to express your opinion. The EU would have been all over Google on this!
  • Redirects in uk
  • If that's true, the EU has to be notified if they aren't already aware.
  • Does someone actually use the Google Maps when you can just use the Nokia Maps? I'm confused.
  • Didn't know I could get Nokia maps on my trophy? I'm confused.
  • Eh I still preferred MS maps on my Quantum compared to google maps in a browser. GMaps Pro wasn't a bad app though.
  • Before this happened...It was only a matter of time before they blocked that too, I believe.
  • I'm sure all Nokia devices don't! I got Nokia 920 and never thought of using it but gmaps is a service and to be blocked like that for no reason will sure piss u off! Google is full of BS & THEY got caught lying! all of this isn't because we use it, some do I guess who don't have Nokia or who is used to it but again u can't block a service and feel like the underdog while other OS Can use it...
  • I use google maps (though through the gmaps app) a good bit because it gives much better subway directions then nokias, and also had bicycle directions which Nokia maps lacks. Also gmaps (sadly) launches faster then Nokia maps and is an overall smoother experience.
  • Same here. Use native map except when I need direction by public transportation. Nokia should just integrate the Transportation info in the maps.
  • so in other words Google is still going to give the FU to WM7.5 devices.
  • Microsoft doesn't care about you or your wp 7.5...that is the old thing they have to wait to slowly die.
  • Y don't people just use Nokia maps?? Wats there to make such a big fuzz!!
  • Can't get Nokia maps on all phones! Just because it's a WP, doesn't mean it's a Nokia.
  • Bicycle directions and transit directions (nokias transit directions are really bad in NYC)
  • 1. Public transit direction info.
  • Transit and directions are Ok in Boston
  • It's basically saying: we neglect all things Microsoft (ie) in our cross platform development and then blame the inadequacy on Microsoft.
  • Exactly. They claimed IE10 couldn't pinch and zoom hahahahaha unreal. They don't realize WP8 kicks many browsers' ASS. Former iPhone user here, and IE is way better IMHO.
  • well said!
  • The only thing IE can't do (I don't remember iOS doing it either) is properly login to Disqus for comments on blogs... Which kills me, but eh. I'll live.
  • Ironically, Safari had the award for worst browser for quite a while.  Absolute nightmare to develop for (even still).
  • Well, can't care less...
  • Google is FALSE: see here !!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG6pQviJ8XY
  • They are full of crap. Although I don't know why any one with a WP8 would need to access google maps since the maps on windows phone are excellent plus being able to download maps for offline use.
  • Its "the point" if google isn't on board with WP8, well never get the other app makers we need here on WP. Instagram, etc. No one will be on board if a big boy like google drops out.
  • I personally don't need anything from google and I know a lot of people want instagram but that is another app I wouldn't use either due to their policies on member use. You upload it they own it. No thanks. Granted there may be other apps out there that google can effect and its bad they play as they do. I'm not sure how old a lot of you are on here but I have been in the computer industry for a long time and I remember when google used to be the company complaining about how bigger companies are and now they are doing the same. So I have no need for a company that can't practice what they preached.
  • There's a few people that don't want anything to do with them. Again, its the point. They're huge, and it sets a bad precedent for other devs whether its a fucking image sharing app or not.
  • I don't quite agree. I don't think it depends on Google whether Instragram et al makes apps for WP. It actually depends on the size of WP user base.
  • I agree tipse_y. One thing that would help is for Microsoft and partners to announce what the sales volumes are regardless of how good or bad the sales are.
  • No shit, and lack of googles support / blessing will turn off some people. Those people DO exist. Every little flaw affects the user base. Not just instagram either lmao
  • Of course its BS
  • I'm not a google-boy, but I think they are telling the truth here. WP7 browser was never compatible with ANY pan/zoom map. That's why they disabled it for all WPs, they just didn't realize that WP8 IE10 indeed was compatible.
  • How can you buy their BS? They are hiding behind half truths and are waiting for this to go away. Don't allow yourself to get Scroogled.
  • Right? Like everyone at goigle was oblivious to all those WP8 commercials haha. I highly doubt they ALL didn't try google out on a windows phone...
  • Even if it doesn't support pan/zoom, why restrict access? I'm pretty sure it doesn't crash, corrupt, or cause destruction to the phones, Google, or anything else. Reasoning is lacking.
  • The usability of gmaps was still there though! I occasionally used gmaps on my Titan when I couldn't find what I was looking for on Bing.  I don't really recall having any problems using them either.  If it ain't broke, why fix it?
  • Good thing I don't use google maps. I'm fine with the Bing and Nokia maps that came preinstalled and actually prefer them over Google's offering.
  • Total bullshit! Only Windows Phone uses IE, so only Windows Phone users would suffer 'poor performance'. I'm pretty sure poor performance is preferable to no functionality at all! Google are just being arseholes!
  • The rediculous thing is, is that Google is ruining its relationships with their customers regardless of the phones they use.
  • iPhone users aren't affected so we will pass by as not noticed. :-(
  • Oh dear lawdy!  I feel duped ten fold now.  Also, I feel that my loyalty is growing stronger towards MS now.  I would rather support a corporation who is considered an underdog in a product than support a corporation who works mischieviously for their own gain. 
  • What?! You think Microsoft is a corporate angel? Come on they practically sued every android manufacture and you wonder why google might be a bit miffed at ol MS? I think Nokia should cut the platform fragmentation and supply their maps which many people commenting seem to love, but they won't because Nokia has an edge over htc and Samsung with it. WHY IS NOBODY TALKING ABOUT THAT?
  • MS isn't an angel, but at least they create cross platform apps and don't playing a now you see it now you don't. Android is the epitome of a copy machine. They've copied Apple and MS and basically gave them the finger while their market share soared until Apple sued them. It still won't stop them from living off everyone else work. Just becuz code is free for Open Source projects doesn't mean they can copy everybody elses work. Google did this play specifically to be Asshats towards WP. Nokia has never shared their Apps with anyone and that's their choice. At least they are honest about it and want to differentiate their products with their products they created or acquired. Peace.
  • BACKPEDAL!!!!!!!!
  • Now since they helped is with this... WHICH THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE BC Nokia maps kick ass.. They'll NEVER give us the real apps were looking for. No way they'll do both.. They'll say "but we fixed maps for you so we're all good!!!"
  • On the contrary. Backpedaling so quickly on this issue actually raises the possibility that they might reconsider their tough stance altogether.
  • Bah bah bah....why do we care anymore about that g thing....
  • Well unfortunately Google will always be a utility for Microsoft not the other way around so why not work together? We all loved Google services to some extent but we all know without pissing people off people loose appreciation! To much of a good thing is boring! I am sure there is or will be a silver lining sooner or later... For me I use Navigon when I had an Android Phone I used Google maps but to me Navigon is a far superior app for Mobile phones!
  • Well...it could be PR, but there's an undeniable truth...IE is still a sh*tty browser. I understand Microsoft wanting to force people to use it in their WP but I bet it they gave people the chance to have Chrome or Firefox in their WP, 99.9% of the people would abandon IE, like like they did in their computers.
    So...even if it is PR by Google, at least is a good excuse, you have to give them that.
  • Technically no, you have your facts wrong here...IE 10 now just ranked the top on all mobile browsers a couple of months back. -This is why you see those IE is not shitty anymore commercials on TV now. As a WP owner, I have the ability to use other browsers (Opera and UC -cross platform...and others)...why was gmaps disabled on those browsers too?
  • So you believe everything commercials tell you?
    Also, care to explain how you run other browsers on WP? Unless you have a developer phone, I don't see how you did that. Unless you are talking about apps that mimic other browsers.
    Opera is only available for Android and iOS. Mozilla stopped the development of an app for WP when Microsoft decided to forbid development to native apps. Chrome is obviously out of the question given Google's and MS love for each other. Safari is exclusive to iOS. So...? Unless you are confusing browsers with search engines...
  • LoL -  Yes, I do have an unlocked device so I am able to run ported apps from Windows Mobile.  As for other browsers,..I use UC and SurfCube3D http://www.wpcentral.com/uc-browser-offers-alternative-ie9-windows-phone http://www.wpcentral.com/opera-mini-ported-windows-phone-limitations-abound Anyway cheers!  
  • IE9 is decent browser with unique elements and minimalist interface.
    For basic browsing that does not require complex add-ins I still prefer IE9 especially the customisable pop-up icon when you highlight text, that is one of the main reasons why I stick with IE.
    Firefox is my secondary browser if I need to do something else, like disable easyly all scrips on certain sites. In Firefox I like the paste&go and paste&search buttons.
    Each one has its benefits, but for everyday use IE9 is my preference.
     
  • Always used IE, never cared much for other browsers.
  • There is a distinction between IE Mobile and IE. IE Mobile is arguably the nest and most advanced browser. WP8 devices have the highest Sunspider scores that are SIGNIFICANTLY higher than Android counterparts. The excuse that IE Mobile isn't up to par is BS because, at the moment, WPs are literally running circles around all existing Android devices.
  • They are not literally running circles. They are metaphorically running circles.
  • Thebrowseryoulovedtohate.com
  • IE 10 on W8 and WP8 is the best browser I have used. Since MS launch this version, at least in my country (France), nobody on W8 are using alternative browser like firefox or chrome. The fact is that the version of IE on WP 7.x was not so good but enough for simple task.
  • Why don't people just use gmaps or Bing?
  • Love the finger pointing at IE... /s
  • I as the user want to decide what works for me and what does not, I dont want a Corporate a-hole censoring my IE.
    If a website does not work it is for me to decide whether to use it or not for someone else.
    Google with this action is starting to be like certain countries censoring stuff they dont want you to use, and I don't care for their PR explanation.
     
  • +1
  • Well, other said it so I just put my word in and say ... nonsense. If they vän provide there crap on a cheap Android mobile, they can't be serious about this. Sure, it might not be top notch but still much better then Android phones.
  • The larger impact here is that Google is making and enforcing choices for the end user now based an what applications a user chooses to access their services with. Why is Google choosing what I can or cannot see? What if I'm perfectly fine with the performance on WP? This is nothing but a PR cover up. Not only that - but they still continue to take subversive measures in order to promote a unequal experience on WP with regards to YouTube and GMail.... This is more about CHOICE by the end user to access Google's services than it is about a specific application. Microsoft has done similar things in the past, and the media was all over them for it - yet Google gets away with it? Not in my book... Nor should anyone else stand for this... If we go down this path - we start moving in the same direction as China or any other country that attempts to control what their end user community sees.
  • What's google maps?
  • Here's what I have read concerning this issue and the aspects surrounding it: The sky is falling, the sky is falling!
  • Evil!
  • I've been using Bing for a few days and I have to say...im sticking with it.
  • Bullsh**!
  • Never did like the gmaps app for WP7...
  • Calling bullshit. Can't believe the author sided with them. You think they do this to IE5 users? Nope.
  • So, 2 days ago IE didn't offer a good enough experience but now it does?
  • Well, Google have to spend lots of effort just to make always standard non-complaint browser  (IE) deliver non-frustrating experice to you, WP users :)  And all this, instead of cut all other OSs and make the best experience for its own ecosystem. 
  • Non standards compliant? Are you living in the past? IE is standards compliant now.
  • Another user comment over on WMPoweruser: Google's new motto: "Do (almost) no evil"
  • Honestly if you are using Google Maps in a browser on your Windows Phone there is a larger problem than the redirect.
  • Well said
  • This!
  • With all Gs**t decisions about WP support from Google, I just realised that, exept Greader, I do not use their service. So thanks Google to help me find a good reason to delete my account once and for all :)
  • this is bullshit.  so long for their "do no evil" lie. chinese has an old saying that one cannot lead the life of a whore and expect a monument to one's chastity. very fitting considering what google has become recently.
  • Google can kiss my ass off.
    Punishing me as a customer because of their rivalry with Microsoft is just despicable.
    They probably don't care but I have stop using their services for a few months now. If I can keep myself being efficient and productive without any of G products/services, so can you.  
  • What an utter load of BULLSHIT.
  • Its obvious that Google is trying to avoid bad press. Did they really think they could pull something like this and we (the WP8 users) just simply stay quiet about it?
  • Microsoft needs to buy YouTube
  • Ummm...Pretty sure Google owns it already.
  • Didn't notice any issues at all with Google Maps since I use Nokia Maps on my fabulous Lumia 900 ;)
  • Sad google is so afraid of Microsoft I wish Microsoft will flex some muscle...
  • Unfortunately for Microsoft (or it could be a blessing in the long term) if they retaliated, they'd get penalized immediately.
  • Gee lets see here, google maps web works through the entire wp7 lifecycle, and now three months into the wp8 lifecycle they decide they need to block all windows phones because wp7 isn't up to par? Google must think we're stupid
  • Lets all stop the foolishness, google maps runs circles around anything Windows or Nokia makes. If you don't want to support google good, but stop posting foolish comments about how the terrible Nokia or Windows alternatives are sufficient replacements.
  • You must be high.
  • You're back again with your comments