Maps block on Windows Phone a product decision, will be lifted: Google

Google has said that blocking of Maps for Windows Phone was to ensure good user experience and was not because it was interfering deliberately with a rival product.

A Google spokesperson told The Next Web that the decision to redirect users trying to access maps using their Windows Phone handsets to Google’s homepage was a product decision that will be overturned. Google said that it checks compatibility of its Maps products across and following review had found that Windows Phone 8’s new Internet Explorer version was ‘satisfactory in its handling of the web app.’

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Performance issues cited as the reason behind Google Maps block on Windows Phone


Google has occasionally limited access to its Maps app when it has found the platform or browser in the past.  The Google spokesperson said to The Next Web, “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 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.

Google and Microsoft’s rivalry had come to a head as users complained about not being able to access Maps on their Windows Phone handsets. While Google Maps was never officially built for or supported by the Windows Phone platform, prior to this complaint, the service was accessible to a certain degree.

While Google initially blamed Internet Explorer for not being a part of WebKit browsers that support optimised version of Google Maps for its inability to access the app, Microsoft begged to differ. “Internet Explorer in Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 use the same rendering engine,” said Microsoft in a short but curt counterview.

Users and analysts worldwide claimed that Google’s explanations sounded merely like a weak excuse and that this move smelled like a battle between the long-time rivals. Google has remained stoic about this entire issue and continues to claim performance based reasons behind the redirect.

There has been a palpable tension in the air between the two companies ever since Microsoft accused Google of trying to sabotage the building of a dedicated, full-fledged YouTube app for Windows Phone. Just prior to the then impending decision of the Federal Trade Commission about the two-year-old antitrust investigation against Google, Microsoft raised this issue to gain a little attention about the entire issue.

Microsoft had claimed that even though YouTube was keen to help it develop an app for Windows Phone, Google executives seemed bent on sabotaging the process. Google countered Microsoft, saying that users could access all YouTube features using the HTML5-based mobile website. 

As far as the Maps go, Google has committed to lift the redirect and Windows Phone users will be able to access Maps on their handsets now, but it only looks like more trouble is expected in the Google-Microsoft Paradise.

Published Date: Jan 07, 2013 11:38 am | Updated Date: Jan 07, 2013 11:38 am