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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…



There are 92 comments. Sign in to comment

Aggemam says:

Google maps? What's that...?

hopmedic says:

They were missing???

hwangeruk says:

Who is this Goggly of which you speak? Are they an eyewear vendor?

sanien says:

LOL he gotcha

ade333 says:

They can suck my....

Nataku4ca says:

no dude... you might catch std...

hwangeruk says:

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.

ade333 says:

Comment of the year hwangeruk.

blackprince says:

Don't care, stupid Google I don't need them

ade333 says:

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.

Joe920 says:

Great, now if they could also enable the desktop search results page for address bar searches, I'd be a happy camper.

matheee says:

Yeeehaa! God bless Google for giving us back fu****g GMaps!

kwajr says:

Why the fuck do you need that

Yeah exactly. Nokia maps work perfectly fine :)

awesmdiver says:

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.

pokokun says:

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Google who? 
*___________* insert your knock knock pun here. 

hwangeruk says:

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 :)

Frank Goblet says:

Oh, that's weird... You're talking like Microsoft didn't do the same thing.

Ultimateone says:

Gmaps is what anyone needs for Google Maps on a WP8 device

dkp23 says:

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. 

bbqrooster says:

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?

dkp23 says:

I dont really care, i dont believe much coming from these giant companies, who does?
That goes with MS as well. 

bbqrooster says:

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.

hwangeruk says:

You say you don't care, but here you are...

tk-093 says:

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.

sanien says:

I didn't use it either but it doesn't mean it is ok for Google to do this.

Prensescim says:

Google maps is back....Woohoo!!.. (sarcasm!!)

venetasoft says:

Too late, I m proud to be "100% google free" and I feel so good :)

krystea says:

We all sound like a bunch of addicts

cdb033 says:

We are lol!

WinFan1 says:

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

NIST says:

Google maps is so yesterday.

cdb033 says:

Not interested.

TechnoTim says:

The only time I ever tried google maps on Windows Phone is when it was taken away. I didn't miss anything.

Daniel_H_UK says:

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

ricardios says:

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

Jammo says:

Google are more concerned with North Korea.

pewp_taco says:

Never tried to use Google Maps on my WP7 because Bing Maps works great.

Andy Barker says:

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.

Coan says:

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. 

walter1832 says:

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.

bbqrooster says:

Google should hire you as a consultant. This certainly is a better excuse than the webkit theory and the optimization theory.

rianext says:

Ignore this moron...none of his comments have ever been neutral...

please don't abuse over the internet. it hurts my precious little heart

summer600 says:

Not in The Netherlands at the moment

When can we expect a YouTube app?

Coan says:

Probably after a court case or fine actually sticks to google for how they're acting.

a court order to make an app? LMAO.

sicnus says:

The Skydrive is falling, The Skype is falling!!!

pazces84 says:

Nokia maps is all that is needed. 

weetigo says:

For the 20% of WP users using a HTC or Samsung, this is useful. Still not working in Canada though.

They're still jerkwads.

E Lizzle says:

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...

PhilR8 says:

Yeah, it seems crippled to me. Search results don't appear on the map and I can't switch from streetmap to satellite.

jmshub says:

Maybe for those that use it, they can complain to get gmail "optimized" to support EAS again.

Bushybro says:

This just shows that they did it intentionally. Bastards

luter_1 says:

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

Raptor007 says:

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.

lfjj says:

I use gMaps Pro and Bingle Maps.

Xaphoon148 says:

Nokia maps/drive, Bing Search and Outlook Works Great :)
Thought I heard Google was closing down their shop...

ZuNuKoo says:

This is great and all but what about YouTube? Give me a Microsoft branded YouTube app.

phasar says:

Now, if we could just get the official App, I would be doing back flips!!!

pallentx says:

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.

xFalk says:

Fallback = Bing Maps

TofuDelight says:

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.....)

siredsmithjr says:

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.

starblade876 says:

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.

pegg says:

No. Just checked, still redirected to google search page on my L900.

procen says:

Google is back, now I can use Bing's Map or Nokia's Map. :-P

muvig says:

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. 

stevethenerd says:

Holy crap that sucks... We weren't missing anything ;)

SergeMcG says:

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?

nachomartr says:

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

xd1936 says:

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.

rdubmu says:

still doesn't work on my Lumia 920 in the Seattle area.

phasar says:

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!

WinFan1 says:

Cool story bro

deloa84 says:

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...

Sumit8 says:

Well... It does not Work very well

LimeSoda says:

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

subkamran says:

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.

starblade876 says:

Bing search "tires", swipe to "local" page.

subkamran says:

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.