Google backs down as Maps for mobile returns to Windows Phone

This morning we woke to a nice little surprise: reports from users that Google Maps via the web address is once again now working on your Windows Phone. Heading to the site (in “mobile mode” not “desktop”) it asks to use your location and it loads up just as it should.

Over the last few days a brouhaha has exploded over Google unceremoniously dumping for Windows Phone users on top of confessing no desire to make a dedicated mobile app. The move was explained away at first under the guise of the Webkit theory, notably that Internet Explorer is a non-Webkit browser and ergo not optimized to run though not many of us took them seriously...

The argument fell short of believability though since IE9 and IE10 on Windows Phone are their core the same as the PC version. Instead, arguments about optimization etc. were used instead though it was never really believed by many users who saw this yet-again as another finger in the eye by Google.

Google Maps via Internet Explorer for Mobile though is once again working and while we still prefer to use Maps for Windows Phone or Nokia Maps on certain devices, we also like having the option especially when doing web searches to use Google’s services. It’s more about principle than actually using their services. Evidently it wasn’t too hard either for Google to “fix” Maps either as it was literally just days for them to make some optimizations for our devices.

We’re not sure when Google became so testy towards people who want to use their services but it sure does make it difficult to like them these days. Anyway, if you want to use Google Maps now via the browser, you can now do so. Now the question is when, if ever, will we see some dedicated apps? Thanks to all who sent this in…

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Google maps? What's that...?
  • They were missing???
  • Who is this Goggly of which you speak? Are they an eyewear vendor?
  • LOL he gotcha
  • They can suck my....
  • no dude... you might catch std...
  • Hahahaha!
  • No, he will catch a discretely placed advert on his man meat. Then he will wonder how they knew he liked canine p0rn and had an aunty living in Nebraska.
  • Comment of the year hwangeruk.
  • Don't care, stupid Google I don't need them
  • Being drunk on power apparently doesn't exempt you from hangovers and regret. Thanks for the spectacle, Google. Honestly, the best part of this was getting them to react. They got played like a bitch.
  • Great, now if they could also enable the desktop search results page for address bar searches, I'd be a happy camper.
  • Yeeehaa! God bless Google for giving us back fu****g GMaps!
  • Why the fuck do you need that
  • Yeah exactly. Nokia maps work perfectly fine :)
  • F-Google, Bing and Nokia Drive are so much better.   As far as I am concerned they only have one decent service which is Google Reader and as as soon as someone replaces that, goodbye.
  • Agreed I haven't used gmaps in almost 3 years never once have I missed them.
  • Knock, knock.
    Who's there?
    Google who? 
    *___________* insert your knock knock pun here. 
  • :D
  • The Google who reads all your gmails, arbritrarily blocks services for users, doesn't like to pay licensing even though it took IP on a phone platform that looks remarkably like iOS, logs all your search terms from Search, tracks all your browsing habits, knits them all together under your name and email address it harvested from your Gmail then tries to sell you stuff from people who have given them cash for adverisements. THAT Google :)
  • Oh, that's weird... You're talking like Microsoft didn't do the same thing.
  • Gmaps is what anyone needs for Google Maps on a WP8 device
  • this thing blew out of proportion.  I understand that uproar, but im guessing not a lot of people use the browser as their main map service. 
    I had no idea it didnt work cuz i never though to try since there are essentially three map apps on this phone -bing maps, nokia maps, and drive. 
  • This incident has not been blown out of proportion. The uproar was about Google's anti-competitive practice, and it was about Google shutting off access to competing mobile OS users. Nothing more, nothing less. This incident flies in the face of Google's mission statement "Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it UNIVERSALLY accessible and useful.." What a bunch of hypocrites.
    I don't use Google maps as well. That does not mean other people don't use it. That does not mean that Google can discriminate one group of users. This morning was the 1st time I used it. I didn't see any functional problem unless Google fixed something in the 3 days since they announced restoring the service. This certainly disproved Google's excuse of webkit problems. So now Google is not just a hypocrite but also a liar. Do you trust them with your information and the things that Google tells you?
  • I dont really care, i dont believe much coming from these giant companies, who does?
    That goes with MS as well. 
  • It is OK if you don't care. But you is not everybody else. Don't equate MS with Google in this incident. Google is definitely the culprit here. If MS is not doing right in other cases, you can voice your criticism as well. By not critical of Google in this case, you are a biased observer.
  • You say you don't care, but here you are...
  • You're right that a lot of people probably don't use the gmail web version, but I think where some people can be affected are when they use mobile sits that have google maps embedded in them...  that broke too.
  • I didn't use it either but it doesn't mean it is ok for Google to do this.
  • Google maps is back....Woohoo!!.. (sarcasm!!)
  • Too late, I m proud to be "100% google free" and I feel so good :)
  • We all sound like a bunch of addicts
  • We are lol!
  • lol i was addicted to google products and i had to ween myself off their products my name is winfan1 and ive been clean for 1 year :D
  • :D
  • Google maps is so yesterday.
  • Not interested.
  • The only time I ever tried google maps on Windows Phone is when it was taken away. I didn't miss anything.
  • They Can keep it, i prefer Nokias offerings on my 920, they can go and remove there search app from the marketplace too as most of the reveiws say its rubbish and Bings offerings are brilliant
  • Seemed like every tech blog had an article about this calling out google about this. If it weren't for that google wouldn't have fixed it
  • Google are more concerned with North Korea.
  • Never tried to use Google Maps on my WP7 because Bing Maps works great.
  • Great news NOT!!! Google do we care that you took the maps away.... NO. Google are you scared that Windows 8 and the Windows 8 phones rock Yes Yes Yes Microsoft eco system all the way.
  • Though I've never used it this way, nor want to, as stated in the article, its purely the principle of the matter amongst the other long line of issues Google has with WP and shutting out it's users. I was once a happy google user, I rather liked the company and supported them and used both google and microsoft products.This has changed over the past few months as Google's decided to keep me from being able to access my own information while using their services. 
    So yeah, rocking the windows ecosystem for the most part now, keep trying to get things moved out of google as I can. 
  • We just need an upgrade to basic Nokia maps app.  Bing blows it out of the water with the detail it shows for traffic.  Nokia maps just show the traffic just on main highways. 
  • With so much love for Google being shown by the people and writers here, it's no wonder Google is least interested in WP.
  • Google should hire you as a consultant. This certainly is a better excuse than the webkit theory and the optimization theory.
  • +1
    Ignore this moron...none of his comments have ever been neutral...
  • please don't abuse over the internet. it hurts my precious little heart
  • Darn it!
  • Not in The Netherlands at the moment
  • When can we expect a YouTube app?
  • Probably after a court case or fine actually sticks to google for how they're acting.
  • a court order to make an app? LMAO.
  • The Skydrive is falling, The Skype is falling!!!
  • Nokia maps is all that is needed. 
  • For the 20% of WP users using a HTC or Samsung, this is useful. Still not working in Canada though.
  • They're still jerkwads.
  • If you try to do anything beyond looking at the opening view, you'll discover that it works like total crap and the joke's on us...
  • Yeah, it seems crippled to me. Search results don't appear on the map and I can't switch from streetmap to satellite.
  • Maybe for those that use it, they can complain to get gmail "optimized" to support EAS again.
  • This just shows that they did it intentionally. Bastards
  • Just because some of you don't think any Google products on the phone are necessary, there are plenty of people who do. Like say, my wife, who has been a GMail user since you needed an invite to be on it and has all her lables and folders and filters set up the way she likes it, I got her to switch from Android to the Windows Phone but is regretting it a bit because the support isn't there. That's not how the "free and open" internet is supposed to work.
    I use Google services as well such as Gmail and YouTube, it's because it's what I had and I work with it, I don't want to be bothered to switch and have mail forward all over the place.
    Just think, if Google had gotten away with this, what next? Pulling support of embedded maps? Embedded YouTube? Its good that these sites and watchdog groups are calling foul. Just remember that and maybe support these initiatives even if you don't agree with them. The platform will never grow if we can't get people to switch from Apple or Android where these services work so well. Especially when we're talking about maps, where our system is pretty fragmented depending where you live, US or everywhere else in the world.
    WP user since Nov 11, 2010
  • Not to mention now that Google is shutting off EAS its a real PITA to deal with that on my new WP8 device arriving tomorrow.  MS still has not enabled changing the name of your Microsoft Live account which is my Gmail account name so I can't get my account properly set up so I can get my email forwarding and other misc issues.  It would be nice for Google to get with the rest of the world and develop for other platfoms, we are their customers too.
  • I use gMaps Pro and Bingle Maps.
  • Nokia maps/drive, Bing Search and Outlook Works Great :)
    Thought I heard Google was closing down their shop...
  • This is great and all but what about YouTube? Give me a Microsoft branded YouTube app.
  • Now, if we could just get the official App, I would be doing back flips!!!
  • Whoggle?
  • eh, its nice to have as a fallback if the data you need is not coming up in Nokia Maps, but I dont use it much.
  • Fallback = Bing Maps
  • How about they fix YouTube? More used than their maps. :)
  • I actually moved my gmail account / contacts / calendar to when they announced that they were not going to do dedicated apps for windows phone....
    S*ck it google....  i'm out ! (After being a big Android fan for over 2 years.....)
  • To everyone who says that nokia/wp maps is the superior option, what is your answer to gps/journey searching for multiple destinations? At least google maps will allow you to search a>b>c, wp seems to be limited to current position>defined destination. I would like to know an answer, then I could agree with you.
  • Download the maps, enter in all the destinations, and then go to each destination. Problem?
    Of course, I'm assuming you don't set your 'b' destination as a driveby and you actually stop there to do something legal.
    Also, Nokia/Bing Maps didn't restrict access to us for some asinine reason.
  • No. Just checked, still redirected to google search page on my L900.
  • Google is back, now I can use Bing's Map or Nokia's Map. :-P
  • Why some of the countries need Google maps is because of these reasons- (open Here maps using co-ordinates below and compare with Google maps below in satellite mode)
    -17.863569138074276, 31.20643951098316
    I have notified them but nothing is being done. 
  • Holy crap that sucks... We weren't missing anything ;)
  • It is always good to have a choice, just in case we need. But Nokia Maps on my Lumia is way way better! And its integration with all the rest of the phone is second to none! People, Nokia Drive and Walk, etc. It couldn't be a better match. Now Google, why do we need you?
  • Acording to this zooming and panning of Google maps did not work on IE9 Mobile for WP7 because of the lack of touchstart, touchmove, touchend support. It does work on IE10 because Microsoft added a proprietary pointer event model!topic/google-maps-js-api-v3/0kA2DNZqZiA!searchin/google-maps-js-api-v3/google$20maps$20windows$20phone/google-maps-js-api-v3/LnNdE0fJkAo/Pj8vsbaC6cEJ
    And location links in Google search results automatically redirect to Bing Map
  • Slanted articles like this are making it hard to stay on your side, Daniel. Biting sarcasm could be written about how Microsoft is using the only closed-source rendering engine on the market, or how Microsoft only let some people use Chevron until they "ran out of tokens".
    "I don't know when Microsoft started being so testy to people who just want an offical way to homebrew their devices".
    Writing like this just isn't that great. It's uncomfortable and fanboy-ish.
  • still doesn't work on my Lumia 920 in the Seattle area.
  • Nokia and Bing Maps on their best day, isn't half as good as Google Maps!!! In fact, don't mention Nokia and Bing in the same sentence with Google Maps!
  • Cool story bro
  • I am glad it works and it should have been that way from the beginning. I wonder what Google's lame excuse would be to getting maps back to WP phones? " We were able to implement a ...yatta yatta yatta " and it works now... Google please...
  • Well... It does not Work very well
  • Just tried, it does not work for me. Running wp7.5...
  • HTC 8X - India
    Google maps still working here.....also google search is a terrible experience on the WP8 browser
  • The biggest issue with all the map apps I've tried including built in and gmaps, is search sucks. Its so easy to find places in Google Maps. Gmaps doesn't even provide a list of search results and the Bing one doesn't find key places I know exist, like searching for "tires". I really want a dedicated Google app.
  • Bing search "tires", swipe to "local" page.
  • One more thing, tried the Google Maps mobile site just now on my 8X. The top toolbar is totally out of proportion and I can't even click the buttons. Looks like they still need to optimize it a bit.