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Google Maps will soon work on Windows Phone because of "recent improvements to IE mobile"

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Google Maps will soon work on Windows Phone because of
In case you've missed the news from the past day, there has been something of a brouhaha surrounding Google Maps support on Windows Phone. But, it looks like the whole ordeal could soon be over. If you want to believe the conspiracy theories, Google has been shamed into changing a biased policy. If you want to believe Google, the change is coming because of "recent improvements to IE mobile".

Google said in a statement on the matter:
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.


We tend to believe Google's reasoning, but the one trouble with it is the timing. Google's excuse is sound: IE mobile used to be pretty terrible and just couldn't handle Google Maps' HTML5. That's a perfectly reasonable excuse, because it is true. IE 9 on Windows Phone 7/7.5 did not have good HTML5 support and just couldn't do what Google Maps asked of it. 

The trouble is that Windows Phone 8 and IE 10, which is far better with HTML5 support, has been out for a bit over 2 months now, and Google has only just decided to change the redirect policy for IE mobile. Google says that IE mobile "did not offer a good maps experience" in the last test, but doesn't mention whether that last test came after WP8 and IE 10 mobile came to market. 

Ultimately, it seems that at the least, this wasn't a malicious blocking of a product. As with most things Google and Windows Phone related, it seems more like a matter of apathy or indifference. The Windows Phone market may be growing, but it isn't big enough for Google to put many resources towards it, and it took a public shaming for Google to take notice. 

source: The Next Web


26 Comments
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posted on 05 Jan 2013, 19:52 4

1. UrbanPhantom (Posts: 948; Member since: 30 Oct 2012)


Google and Microsoft are arch enemies: I wouldn't call it apathy or indifference, but rather a policy of slash and burn towards each other's products and services.

posted on 05 Jan 2013, 20:51 5

5. 14545 (Posts: 992; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


If MS was remotely intelligent, then they would quickly work towards a truce with google. Google actually has the power to kill, or keep down until MS finally decides it is no longer worth their time and effort, WinPhone. If MS actually wants their mobile offerings succeed, then a truce is in order.

posted on 05 Jan 2013, 21:01 5

6. MeoCao (unregistered)


I think that's what MS should do always: be humble and respect Google. MS now needs Google not the opposite.

Is "Scroogle" campaign still on? Big companies can compete, that's market after all. But what MS has been doing just is shameful.

posted on 06 Jan 2013, 13:35

22. mrochester (unregistered)


Google would attract the attention of regulartors the world over if they attempted such a thing.

posted on 05 Jan 2013, 19:55 1

2. jroc74 (Posts: 4084; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Lets hear the conspiracy theorist thoughts...lol.

What I am curious about....if it never worked or worked well on WP before... what was the problem? Doesnt that mean Bing Maps worked better on WP than Google Maps? Again, what was the big problem?

So....we have 2 months pass by since WP8 and IE 10 came out and the big uproar...I didnt even know how long IE 10 was out. The more things come to light....the more simple the explanation sounds.

posted on 06 Jan 2013, 09:42 1

18. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


Another very odd thing is that Google Maps UK works just fine...someone is lying...

posted on 06 Jan 2013, 19:11 1

25. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Google Maps UK was the desktop version, not the mobile version.

posted on 05 Jan 2013, 19:58 11

3. shuaibhere (Posts: 964; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)


And now stop blaming google....
Blame microsoft for IE...

posted on 06 Jan 2013, 06:16 2

13. wp7tribes (Posts: 52; Member since: 12 Aug 2011)


it was working before google did this after it was cleared from FTC
and when wp users reported their problems to consumerwatchdog and media starting to talk about how evil google is they back down

posted on 06 Jan 2013, 10:08 2

19. shuaibhere (Posts: 964; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)


Don't make me repeat the same things....How is google evil????
MS is evil empire what about blocking linux on wp8 computers????
Even it's not their hardware to take control of it...

posted on 05 Jan 2013, 20:10 3

4. jroc74 (Posts: 4084; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


One thing I dont see ppl mentioning is with all the controversy, many ppl arent making the distinction between the mobile version and the desktop version. DId the mobile version ever work on WP? Did the desktop version ever work on WP?

Do most users even know the difference?

I have been reading Opera is not supported for alot of Google services....no uproar from Opera users? Opera isnt supported for lots of things...I like it but compability with it sucks with things I use regularly.

posted on 05 Jan 2013, 21:46 3

8. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)


In the original video that started this whole mess, when the guy went to Google Maps UK, it showed the desktop version on the WP8 device, not the mobile version, and it seemed to work.

As far as Opera, it's a weird thing, but I think it's the difference between officially supported and officially compatible. Opera may not be supported, but it's still compatible. IE9 mobile wasn't supported and wasn't compatible. IE10 hasn't been supported (but should be now) and is compatible.

posted on 05 Jan 2013, 21:17 4

7. faisolbauuz (Posts: 121; Member since: 05 Jan 2013)


Well google is sure a nice guy even though microsoft are doing scroogled and #droid rage campaign google still support microsoft products,if google wants to dominate the markets just block the goole service gmail,youtube,etc on ios,wp,bb,etc and booom you got 80++% market share

posted on 06 Jan 2013, 01:29 5

9. ogy_dogy (Posts: 453; Member since: 29 Jun 2012)


And everyone trusts google, how predictable you guys are. The fact is that ie10 mobile is out for 2 months but it apparently got faster yesterday. Lol. Imo google got scared of the negative pr and realised that someone is actually using wp. Now let msoft do some metro/modern ui magic on a youtube app and we shall never mention this again...

posted on 06 Jan 2013, 04:52 4

11. VZWuser76 (Posts: 992; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


When you consider that MS and Google are competitors, there really is no reason why Google should offer their services on MS devices (other than ad revenue). It's really no different than phones on Verizon and Sprint. They have (at least in the past) been able to work on each other's networks. They had roaming agreements so obviously the hardware is compatible. But if I wanted an Evo running on Verizon's network it wasn't possible. I'd either need to get an Evo on Sprint or get a comparable phone on Verizon.

There are plenty of instances when competitors don't allow their hardware or services to work with/on each other. But as with everything else it seems that fact doesn't, or can't apply to the mobile world. In Google's case it probably wasn't worth it to to do so. That's another thing that happens everywhere else. If a company doesn't feel it's worth it to produce something, they don't do it. So why should they have to produce something for a limited number of people, and for a competitor at that? They have their own map app, two if you have a Nokia phone. Anywhere else if something's not available, you either wait for it to become available, find something else that serves the same function, or live without it. Everything isn't available to everyone at anytime. It's amazing to me that people cant get this through their heads.

posted on 06 Jan 2013, 05:06 3

12. VZWuser76 (Posts: 992; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


Another example, I can't go into the Play Store and download Safari browser onto my Android phone. Why is there no outcry over this? They tout it as the best mobile browser available, yet don't make it or even iTunes available for competitors. iTunes is available for Windows PCs. I'm sure there are android users who have iTunes content, but they have to rely on apps like DoubleTwist to get their content onto their Android devices. So why does this not apply to Apple? Samsung's, HTC's, and Motorola's services aren't available on each other's devices, or on WP or iOS devices, how is that different? Either it has to apply to all or to no one.

posted on 06 Jan 2013, 07:00 2

15. jroc74 (Posts: 4084; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Exactly. iTunes isnt available for WP or Android....no huge uproar about that tho...

posted on 06 Jan 2013, 13:12 2

20. adk199 (Posts: 23; Member since: 04 Oct 2012)


Wonder why. I use iTunes on my PC but i have yet to find a worse piece of software for my pc. I buy a lot of the music but it's a pain to get though. Unimagially bad software :-)

posted on 06 Jan 2013, 14:17 1

23. Bilpocalypse (Posts: 301; Member since: 13 Oct 2012)


I'm assuming that the iTunes situation is different because the product is a POS. Google Maps is actually a decent product and the consumers want the option to use it, regardless of their preferred OS. That's the reason for the uproar about it.

posted on 06 Jan 2013, 07:08 3

16. jroc74 (Posts: 4084; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


"The fact is that ie10 mobile is out for 2 months"

And Gogle is supposed to hop, skip and jump for MS and make sure Google Map is working fine asap? How about a lil patience?

Good job for ppl bringing it to folks attention...all I will say tho is if Google did let their other apps become available for WP,,,,,and it goes down like this again, instead of just providing feedback thru the right channels...I probably wont wanna do any other apps for WP in the near future. Just doing some reading it seems like it was never working right or available for WP ever.....and there is no clear indication if/when it did if it was the mobile or desktop version. This whole situation seems sketchy.....but MS, keep up the good work with your Scroogled, Droid Rage, Smoked by WP campaigns... :/

posted on 06 Jan 2013, 13:19 2

21. carlosechev07 (Posts: 39; Member since: 16 Oct 2012)


I don't think so, in my opinnion MS do the bad job running this infamous campaings, IE is the same terrible history on desktop and mobile versions, poor HTML5 compatibility and rendering it's slow.
MS must expend efforst innovating his productos, doing better job with IE, and adopting open protocols to make MS products much moré compatibles. Doing a mess or cry every time a MS product shows incompatibilities is a very bad way to compete in this faster and innovative market..

posted on 06 Jan 2013, 02:20 4

10. Jonathan41 (Posts: 526; Member since: 22 Mar 2012)


Microsoft needs to stop picking fights with Google. It's an all around bad idea.

posted on 06 Jan 2013, 08:04 2

17. Just_a_boy (Posts: 183; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


of course google has more brainwashed fanboys right now

posted on 06 Jan 2013, 06:26 4

14. buggerrer (Posts: 282; Member since: 21 Sep 2011)


No Photosynth on android, yet it's on iphone and windows phone.. google are just returning the favour.

posted on 06 Jan 2013, 17:28 2

24. networkdood (Posts: 5618; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Internet Explorer is a terrible browser...now, will microsoft stop whining?

posted on 06 Jan 2013, 20:27

26. ReturningToNokia (Posts: 130; Member since: 09 Jul 2011)


Lol! Michael Heller...Wow, you are something else. The writing on PhoneArena is just, abysmal, most notably your articles. I stop visiting for a while, hoping it will get better, but it just doesn't.

Oh well, I'm going on another hiatus from PhoneArena.com. Props to John V's reviews, though.

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