Nokia brings advertisements to HERE Maps on some Windows Phones

Nokia has previously instituted advertising on the web version of, but the service is also available on Microsoft's mobile OS. Nokia is now evidently moving to mobile to provide relevant adverts in search results, presenting users with related companies or points of interest. It's non-intrusive advertising with some decent functionality to offer, but users are are mixed on the idea.

Read on for all of the details.

HERE's Pino Bonetti has confirmed the introduction of advertisements over on our community forum:

"After rolling out advertisements (e.g. with Groupon) on, we are introducing them on Windows Phone 8 apps too. In the specific case of HERE Maps, we are displaying locally relevant ads in search results and nearby places [...] if you want to see what their offer is all about, you can click on the banner to open the browser."

HERE Maps Places

The question many appear to be asking is, "is Nokia right to do so?" Some of our own readers are questioning the implementation of advertising in a product that they feel they've paid for through the pricing of the Windows Phone itself (HERE is marketed as part of the feature set).

Personally, while it's true that Nokia offers HERE as part of the overall Lumia experience, it's an external service and I'm not actually fussed whether Nokia chooses to serve me relevant adverts or not. Nokia also isn't be the first company to push advertising on a service, as Google often does the same.

The advertising – whilst we've not experienced it ourselves as of yet – appears to be non-intrusive and limited in nature. There aren't adverts for games, dating websites or credit card companies. instead, these are local, relevant adverts that could prove to be rather useful. HERE is free to use, and I don't really see how some light advertising will affect the services in a negative way.

But should there be an option to purchase a subscription to remove advertising? It's a possible route, but offering HERE as a free service to Windows Phone owners with all the bells and whistles is something we're sure many of us enjoy, even if there is an advert here and there. 

Have you experienced any advertisements when using the HERE services on your Windows Phone? If so, let us know in the comments and be sure to add your input in the thread on our forum.

Thanks, unstoppablekem, for the tip!

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Noooooo :(
  • Maybe switch back to internal Bing maps! I may.
  • Yes
  • I never stopped. Never liked the idea of having two maps so I downloaded Bing maps (launcher)
  • Hmm. I hate adverts in general but I can sort of see why they would add them. As long as they continue to be nonintrusive types and not the overwhelming accidental click type of ads, I don't mind much.
  • As long as the advert does not mess with the navigation
  • Don't clutter it up Nokia/MS! It makes the whole user experience suffer. I personally hate adds attached to anything. Especially my phone!
  • It was one of the strongest point why I deterred using Google
  • This doesn't bother me, (there are ads in most MS apps on Windows 8,) but I never use Here maps anyway... I'm either finding locations or walking directions through Bing search (quicker,) or driving directions with Here Drive. I uninstalled Here maps long ago.
  • what about us who purchased Here Drive + (HTC phone) ?
  • Or the people who paid a premium for high end phones that already come with HERE Drive+ included in the price of the phone.  
  • Here Maps and Here Drive are two different services.
  • :(
  • I RARELY use any mapping stuff, since I don't do much traveling. We'll see how this goes, but I'm GUESSING that after a few run-ins with these advertisements, I'll start considering Bing Maps. If they don't happen often, and they don't hinder performance, I'll probably ignore it. If they pop up all over the place and cause stuttering, I will delete it.
  • I thought I tipped you guys on this. :'(
  • You did, our bad. Added back.
  • Advertisements don't bother me at all. If you don't like em, just dint click on em. Simple!
  • They still take up valuable screen real estate, and bring to mind questions of privacy and tracking your movements, even if you don't click on them.    
  • They oftentimes make the performance of the app suck also.
  • Massive fail from Nokia again. Role on Microsoft the Nokia board are a disgrace!!
  • Oh come on Nokia .. Now? After you had all the money you need from Microsoft?
  • I don't like it ....
  • The maps are free and always updated. That costs money to maintain and upkeep. Advertisements are not a problem.
  • Coming soon to a Nokia camera app near you...
  • Yeah and those updates and support are paid for by you buying the damn phone. Just like when you buy a PC you expect certain level of support. And the offline and always updated feature of HERE maps was Nokia's key advertising feature of the service that is included when you buy a WP. So NO it's not ok to now backtrack and shoove adds on existing customers without notice.  
  • Oh Please! Nokia offers their mapping service as a complimentary service - they don't have to do this! You could instead pay $30+ for Navigon. And if I recall, the HTC 8X was more expensive on contract than the Lumia 920 and other Lumias. Nokia doesn't owe us free apps - they do it because they want too. And they have every right to monetize their services with ads or otherwise.
  • Nokia offered HERE Maps free because it made buying their devices more appealing at a time when Windows Phone was a fairly undesirable platform. They are just starting to gain market share. Now is not the time to make those services less appealing. It's ignorant to take the stance that "they don't have to offer it for free". Because, really, they do. It makes purchasing one of their phones much more appealing and contributes to the increase in market share, which is much more necessary than monetizing from ads. There's a reason that Microsoft talked them into making HERE Maps available for all WP8 devices.
  • I disagree.  They don't have to offer it for free - it's a service that they can choose to monetize now, later, or not at all.  Nokia devices are appealing due to their designs and innovations - the navigation/maps is just icing on the cake.  They could have easily stopped at designs and camera innovations, and I'd wager they still would have outsold the competion.    Again, there are other navigation solutions available for the platform.  It's easy - if you don't like ads or disagree with Nokia's attempt to monetize their navigation services, you can simply uninstall the Here Maps/Drive applications from your device.  At the end of the day, as long as Microsoft licenses Navteq, Nokia will get paid.   Microsoft didn't 'talk' Nokia into making HERE available for all WP devices - do you think Nokia is just making their services for free to HTC, Samsung, etc. ?   Don't like it, use Bing.  Even when Microsoft officially acquires the D&S services from Nokia, if Microsoft continues to use Navteq, Nokia will still get paid.
  • They can add it if they feel the need, but not on existing phones. They can't simply change the deal, in that case customers should be able to change the deal too.
  • +1, definitely should not be retroactive for people who bought it knowing there are no adds. As for new future phones and custumers that is open for discussion, but Nokia should be clear about the adds up front.  
  • "But should there be an option to purchase a subscription to remove advertising?" That should never be an option, because I ALREADY PAID Nokia for add free HERE Maps when I bought my phone. It's af if I bought Garmin car GPS and then 5 months later Garmin started bombarding me with adds but then they said you can get rid of them if you continue paing us for something that you already owned; you know just because we like screwing over our paying customers.  
  • Garmin does charge for updates.
  • Yeah, but it's a one off charge for lifetime updates, and that charge for HERE maps is included in the cost of the phone. That is the whole reason why cheap phones have only HERE Drive and the flagships have full HERE Drive+, because you are paying for the HERE services by buying the phone.  
  • Finally! I've been waiting for this feature for a long time. Awesome work Nokia. You're finally catching up to Google. ;)
  • the sarcasm is strong with this one
  • lol
  • It's always great to see when a company aspires to the customer standard that is Google.  
  • Aww hell no.
  • Bullshit..
  • Speaking of here the here city lens is missing on the 1520 due to the 1080p not being compatible hope it gets fixed soon
  • If you do not like it you can always use offline navigation/maps.
  • That kind of misses the point of this whole discussion.  
  • "Nokia also isn't be the first company to push advertising on a service, as Google often does the same" So now you are comparing Nokia to the lowlife datamining assholes at Google, not something Nokia should try to aspire to; but rather keep away from as far as possible.  
  • +920
  • +810
  • Seriously hate adverts and also in app purchases.
  • Ugh, and so the decline of here begins
  • HERE, we Go!
  • Not cool
  • @John20212.. Your comparison is ridiculous! When you buy a PC (not a Surface), do you get Microsoft Office for free? No! It's a service that you pay money for and that entitles you to support. Here Drive, Here Maps, etc. were bonuses to attract customers. If you want ad-free navigation, BUY IT! And if you consider the level of quality compared to Apple Maps (remember that?), you should rethink your opinion.
  • What the hell does Office got to do with this, that is just a ridiculous analogy. Free HERE maps are a key feature of a Lumia device, advertised as such by Nokia, and the whole reason Nokia removed Bing maps link from the OS. HERE is a key mapping solution on Lumia devices and a key part of WP8 experience on a Lumia device. HERE maps was not a bonus to attact customers its a key part of a Lumia device, hence why MS allowed Nokia to remove access to Bing Maps and replace it with HERE as the default mapping solution.  
  • Surface RT comes with free office. No ads.
  • At least there are no ads yet on my Surface 2.  I curse each time I see an ad on my XBOX One home screen.....
  • Whats next? Advert in office app?
  • Microsoft Office Starter 2010, anyone?
  • Ads just not cool at all!
  • They are just gearing up for the future, they won't be getting the licencing cost with the phone anymore afterall. If you feel like you don't like it, use Bing Maps, it uses Here data as well after all.
  • I don't get what all the fuss is about?! HERE Maps is a cracking service that has served me well for years and completely for free! I detest in-your-face advertising but is having a few locally-relevant "sponsored" results really that bad?! Especially if it means continued development and free availability! It's not exactly the end of the world :-)
  • This is the whole misconception of the HERE maps. IT IS NOT FREE, the cost of the service is included in the cost of the phone. That is why low end phones are limited to HERE Drive and high end phones get the full HERE suite with HERE Drive+.  
  • This is appalling. Did not expect this from Nokia. I hope the ads don't get annoying over time.
  • I'd understand if they put ads on HERE for other phones (since the app is free) and add some sort of payment method to remove the ads. But the service is advertised as part of the Lumia experience and I simply think it's wrong to have paid full price for a phone that had some services included and now I come to discover said services are hindered by ads. Sorry, but if this keeps going this way I may very well end up stop using the service altogether or even stop using Nokia's phones. I had just started rebuilding my long lost (albeit small) trust in the brand. I can lose it easily again.
  • Any advertising is intrusive. I hate any an all commercial/advertisements. If I receive ads on my here maps on my Nokia phone I will no longer be tied to just there service.
  • I don't consider anything from Groupon relevant. It would be no loss to me if Groupon went out of business.
  • I understand the reasoning for the ads, but I feel that it is getting out of hand. Ads in a map app are too much. PNC puts ads in between line items in their Virtual Wallet application which just irritates me to no end. 99% of the time I don't even pay attention to the ads that show up on my phone. I would rather have the screen real estate. However, as a developer, creating and maintaining apps takes a lot of time and we can't just work for free.
  • I suppose they have to start earning money on software after they sold telephone businesses to MS.
  • Shhhhh don't tell the Android people about this or we'll be a laughing stock :S
  • They better tread very lightly with this.  They won't be winning many fans if they start harassing customers with ads.
  • There are so many die hard fanboys over here that is incredible. how can i as a Here drive + user be okay with having bloody advertisement in that phone? i Paid 500pound for it and this was one of the appraised features i purchased with it. If you dont stop being okay with all the commercial you will end up in having it everywhere just like micro transactions. even windows 8 comes with bloody ads already. this is just unacceptable. ads are NEVER okay. Never! they are at least acceptable when you use a free service. 500pound i dont consider as being FREE
  • If they will make a subscription for it nobody will ever take WP again.. So many people use stuff like that, but google maps will always be free. I totally love WP, but if apps that should be in the core (and I was hoping that would happen with the acquisition) are going to throw ads at me they will never see me again at WP, I will sell my surface and won't ever bij a Xbox one when it finally arrives here.
  • The whole internet is taken over by ads, it's getting ridiculous. And now in core apps? Jesus christ, fuck you Nokia, here maps is trash compared to google maps, and now fill them with ads? Insane!
  • Lol. Bit extreme. Dude, this Here Maps, give it two more minutes and you're writing hate mail to Bill Gates entire family. Chill, what a drama...
  • Isn't the "nearby" feature already targeted advertising? Ridiculous...
  • It's a shame this has happened, though hardly unexpected. If one has paid for a lumia device, i personally feel one shouldn't have to pay for this also...
  • Regardless of us paying for the app when we purchased the phone, working on maintaining and improving the service will continue to cost more money not covered by the initial charge.  I really see nothing wrong with this as long as they continue to work on improving the service.
  • The initial charge keeps going if you keep gaining customers. And if you do right by your customers [e.g. by not screwing them over with adds] then you will keep those customers and you will get another initial charge when a loyal customer buys their next phone from you as well. If you skip on support and introduce adusive practices you will start loosing those initial customers you won over and they it is just downhill from there and you are screwed. If Nokia wants to be the next big player in mapping with HERE they should thread very lightly with this whole advertising nonsence especially when it comes to existing customers. Because just like they came, they can leave again, and ussually never come back again.  
  • People who bitch about the ads obviously don't have Hulu Plus. There you pay and STILL get ads.
  • I loved Hulu when it first started out with 10-15sec non-intrusive ads, but once they started abusing customers with 1min+ ads and now 2min+ I stopped using Hulu altogether, and the once thought of paying for Hulu+ to get HD quickly went out as Hulu ads came in. I am not interested in watching a 40min TV show that lasts an hour because of damn ads.  
  • That's because we're smart enough to avoid stupid services like Hulu plus. It's no better than paying for cable TV twice: Once in a monthly bill and once by being forced to watch commercials every 15 minutes. Hulu is the biggest joke ever. And people who actually pay to access it are an even bigger joke.
  • No way, i used Here a lot and i was so happy with it, but now, that sucks. I don't understand why? It generates so much profit for the company?
  • Hmmm I think Lumia users should be exempt while other OEM users I could understand having ads since they aren't Nokia devices.
  • +1, HERE is a key part of a Lumia experience and should be add free.  
  • What happened to Microsoft not being an advertising company? Most of what's great about their services is that they're not subsidized by ads like everything Google. This is a step in the wrong direction. On all of my Android devices, I block ads. Since I can't do that on Windows Phone, if I start seeing an increase in them, I may have to consider going back to Android. I hate ads more than anything.
  • You might as well never install Windows 8 or later. Ads in most Microsoft apps, though most of the ones I have seen are unobtrusive. The ads in some of the early-version game apps were horribly intrusive, making you watch commercials 15-30 seconds long every few rounds, but I think those might have been replaced with something less likely to make you avoid buying the advertised products.
  • You're kidding, right? I have Windows 8. Both on my gaming desktop and on a tablet. I have ads blocked on the host level. I don't see then anywhere. There's a great app called Hostman. You should try it. Also, IE 11 on Windows 8 gives you the ability to block ads in the browser natively, through privacy filters. You don't even need to install Adblock Plus.
  • This is Nokia decision, not Microsoft.
  • Yes, but since Nokia is a big Microsoft partner and partially owned by them, it reflects directly on them.
  • Here is Nokia business unit, I doubt MS has much to say how other companies' run their business.
  • I hate adverts. Nokia better not make me hate you.
  • I hate ads. It's the primary reason I used to like HERE maps so much...
  • Not even Google does that, Nokia sucks. We need Google maps on WP.
  • Seriously? Google has TONS of ads in Google Maps. And they have been there for a long time and are only getting more intrusive.
  • Noooooo adverts!!!
  • Wow. That article read like a corporate blog towards the end. Poor stuff.  Moves like this should be questioned and analysed. You're basically saying "Well, some readers don't like it, but I don't see the problem... and, well, Google does it, so it's fine".  Weak.   I would suggest that while advertisements are part of the price we pay for these 'free' services, there are more appropriate ways of implementing them. Plastering banners on to a mapping tool is one of the least desirable methods that I can think of.  Having them hidden within a tag or label for a specific location is not only more discrete, but more relevant based on the fact that user will actively be looking for something related to that specific location.  Losing screen space while browsing a map to something of absolutely zero interest is just a frustrating update to how the user interacts with the map. 
  • All ads are intrusive.
  • Add this things in the iOS app, they did not pay for this experience. This maybe removes the strongets selling point for buying a Lumia, we'll see. I will remind you HERE that I'm the one that right now report updates (the maps) and tests your service and then I don want this shit in my face. This made me think that I maybe should remove my accont and stop report updates through you service.
  • Also recommended my parents to get their Lumias because of Here
  • Bing Search is built into Windows Phone, and when I search for things, sometimes I see relevant advertisements in the search results. I don't see how this is any different. I would pay to disable the ads though.
  • There's enough adds in this world. We don't need more.
  • If I start seeing adds on here drive I'll stop using it. Not on nav
  • Well, even though it hasn't shown up on mine (yet!), I wouldn't be willing to switch to Bing Maps. Besides the more intuitive UI and the better accuracy, I really, really rely on offline mapping; and that is the best feature ever!
  • These don't even count as Ads, it's more like an extra service of the app. MS integrated it into the local hub and no one cared. They actually branded it as a service. This just means you people are stupid and have no idea what you're talking about. Half of you can't even realize that the article is about HERE maps, not HERE drive...
  • Nevermind man, people love to hate. Someone is even saying he's selling his Surface, because Nokia said it's putting some paid points of interest on Here Maps. It's actually funny...
  • Ads - and the way revenue-seeking behavior actually messed up functionality in google maps - is one the principal reasons I left android. Not happy about this development at all.  
  • Is there Ads in google maps?
  • I don't like advertisement!
  • So, Nokia is promoting adverts too just like Google. Looks like adverts will be crawling slowly into windows phones too. Well done!
  • This is an insulting joke. roll it back nokia.   
  • if the ads not so annoy and making lag, then it's ok if it make lag or hang in low device then I'll uninstall it
  • I would be glad to pay for a non ad version if it were offered!
  • Considering that HERE Maps REPLACES the standard Bing Maps implementation, I think this is crossing a line. I would expect this if HERE Maps was avalible on NON Lumia devices. Give me a way to switch back to Bing Maps then please...
  • This kind of makes me happy since I still use Bing maps on the phone. That having been said, I strongly agree with the no-ads crowd. If I buy a device with integrated services, I'd expect them not to shove unwanted ads in my face, however "unobtrusive" they may label them to be.
    This is also annoying on Microsoft's part btw. Win8 was not free, yet they decided to cram ads in their own aps on their own platform, which is pathetic to no end.
    Same goes for Nokia. Their higher end phones are not that cheap (granted, still not Apple-tier in their pricing - and no, don't drag carrier subsidizing into this. That's a US thing), and I think most of us don't buy them because they're our chosen conduit to receive ads through.
    I really wish they would've just stuck with Bing maps, and hell, if I were MS, I'd shaft HERE maps from the OS the minute I acquire the D&S division...
  • I dislike Ad but I understand why Nokia would like to add it. If the ad is relevant to the map, it is fine. Just don't show me irrelevant ad with sexy girl picture.
  • That's it, here maps is finished.
  • I have seen the ads on HERE Maps in a different location - once I scroll down to the search results, the 1st one is a sponsored place. I don't see it on the map canvas as you did, not sure why. Maybe A/B testing?
  • I could understand it if Here put ads on Non-Nokia devices that use the Here apps.... but NOT on the Lumia series... This is not a good decision!
  • The last time I used here maps was awful (December 22) they were showing the wrong location for a place I was trying to get to AND that stupid banner ad unexpectedly popped about double whammy.
  • I'm ready to pay money not to see them. Don't go Google way please. Though, it's possible that MS will pay Nokia money so Nokia wont show the ads on Lumias.
  • NOOOO!!!!! I really liked my 920, and have just replaced it with a 1520 which I also like. But Maps are basic functionality in a smartphone that should be ad-free. I paid a premium for these phones and they didn't have ads in maps when I bought them. This is the kind of thing that could finally push me back to iPhone. WP8 is nice, but you have to tolerate the app situation - ads in Maps takes away from the phone experience and might push me over the edge. I know - Nokia doesn't care, as they have sold their phone business but are keeping HERE and will want to monetize it. No thanks - I'll go to another phone and mapping service.
  • What a horrid joke I will never buy this crap again. I would smash this Lumia 925 on the concrete if I wasn't under contract.