Google to restore maps access for Windows Phone users

Over the past day or so, it became apparent that Google had made a move to block access for Windows Phone users access to maps.google.com. Google backed this move by saying that they would only support Webkit browsers and since Windows Phone does not have a browser that runs on this platform, these users were barred from using the service.

The Next Web was able to talk with Google who has stated that they will undo the change and allow Windows Phone users to access the service. They once again defended this move by saying it was a performance issue and not a move to weaken the Windows Phone platform. Google stated:

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 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.

If you read the statement carefully, although the initial statement said that Google only wanted to support Webkit browsers, the statement above makes it clear that they were targeting mobile IE users. 

Knowing that Google will now restore the access is a good move on their part but it does raise concern if and when we will see Google try and take similar actions again. We can be sure that the ecosystem wars are only getting hotter and this move by Google could foreshadow the future of the web. 

Source: The Next Web

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Chugworth said,
Well... Can't those Windows Phone users just switch to Android phones?

Well... That is precisely what they are trying to do... You probably see it as a practical issue and that's exactly what they want WP users to think. Switching to Android suddenly is far easier and worth your time and the trouble... They just forgot to tell you a little detail: they are now more profitable thanks to a new source of revenue - you!
How convenient!
=)

Google has started in the last time to use habits usual for big companies, Microsoft included.
That part with Google Maps is only one of them.
Now if I try to use my gmail account from a IE 8 browser i get advertised that I have to install Chrome, because IE is not supported. But I least I can choose to ignore that, for the moment.
But why Chrome and not Firefox or Opera ? Well just because Chrome is their product.

Agreed, it's annoying I'm forced to use IE8 at work and every time I check my personal Gmail I have to deal with that. Another 2 weeks and I'll be able to stop using Google services completely. Just waiting on my new business cards with my outlook.com mail on them.

It didn't 'break', it was deliberately broken.

They haven't fixed it (yet), and their justification was a bs attack on a competitor's product. Classy?

They gave a reason. And I wouldn't call it an "attack". Look up hyperbole. Not like MS has done this in the past and has already asked devs to develop SPECIFICALLY for IE10.

Edited by farmeunit, Jan 6 2013, 9:48pm :

What I really don't understand is of all these people who like Microsoft but hate Google, why would you even care about Google Maps? Wouldn't you be using Bing or Nokia maps?

Edited by Simon-, Jan 7 2013, 3:13pm :

It's funny how they throw shade at IE, while slipping in ok we'll remove the redirect since it does work fine. Also funny how they say "recent improvements", when nothing has changed lately... which means either they either didn't test with IE10 or they were just being complete *******s... or BOTH

Recent improvements to GOOGLE MAPS, in regards to how it affects IE. How do you know they haven't updated their build of Google Maps?

So other mapping sites were able to allow IE and other browsers to zoom and pan effortlessly with many using pre-HTML5 functionality. However Google's programming team couldn't do this even with newer HTML5 features that IE9 and IE10 support?


Shall we all agree now that Google are liars or just horrible at programming?


PS: Google trying to make Webkit a 'standard' the supersedes W3C is actually 'worse' than what Microsoft did with IE5 and IE6. When IE5/6 were shipped, their functionality was set to be approved by the W3C with most features in 'consideration' phase.

At launch IE6 was the most standards compliant browser at the time. It was reversals of proposed features at the W3C from lobbying by Sun and others that relegated IE6 to no longer be a 'standards' browser.

Google is purposely trying to force a browser ENGINE as the defacto 'standards' instead of HTML5/CSS3 and other specification governed by the W3C. They have already bypassed standards with their support of WebGL instead of the W3C shader and other graphical specifications.

The irony is that Webkit is based on an 'older' engine concept that is a generation behind IE's 9/10 engine. Webkit is a 'document/content' viewing technology where IE uses a 'content/compile' and run technology.

Shall we review some 'basic' FULL STANDARD HTML5 sites and performance in IE versus Webkit?

http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Performance/PenguinMark/

http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Performance/Chalkboard/

Not only are these cute tests fully based on 'standards' but they are also show the massive difference in dealing with graphical and dynamic content between IE and the Webkit engine technologies. This is why a WP7 or WP8 device can run some of the tests at IETestDrive faster than Chrome can run them on a high end desktop.

Google may have just helped reopen the FTC case. Good Job.

What are you talking about? The MS touch events are not standard and they are part of the working group involved in the HTML5 ones. As such they are working against the group they are meant to be working with.

Too little, too late. Still standing by my "f*** google" stance from earlier. I loved you, Google, but you've changed and we just can't be together anymore.
In other news, IE10 Release Preview for Windows 7 is actually really nice, and should be a nice rebound browser.

Perfect72 said,
Too little, too late. Still standing by my "f*** google" stance from earlier. I loved you, Google, but you've changed and we just can't be together anymore.
In other news, IE10 Release Preview for Windows 7 is actually really nice, and should be a nice rebound browser.

Do you then stand by a "F*** Microsoft" since they are continously engaging in the same activities?

Perfect72 said
In other news, IE10 Release Preview for Windows 7 is actually really nice, and should be a nice rebound browser.
I don't like what Google's doing but I'm sticking with Chrome. IE has gotten faster but it's still got moments where it gets a little slow and it's still not as stable as Chrome and I can't open images separately in different tabs in IE like I can with Chrome.

FISKER_Q said,

Do you then stand by a "F*** Microsoft" since they are continously engaging in the same activities?

Ok, pony up.

Show one example of when Microsoft ever restricted access to one of its services or blocked Chrome?

If Microsoft was 'the same' or doing the 'same activities', not only could they have blocked Chrome, but they could even make Chrome not able to run on Windows, let alone restrict just its web access to services.

This is where people should remember that back when Google was suing Microsoft over Vista and IE7 and creating Chrome, that even with the 'litigation', Microsoft helped Google with the development of Chrome, as it uses the same 'sandbox' principles that Microsoft had developed for IE7, which Microsoft shared with Google.

One company plays pedantic games, the other doesn't. Microsoft still works with Apple and Sony, who are even bigger competitors to Microsoft's bottom line, and continually tried to reach out to Google over the years.

dtourond said,
I don't like what Google's doing but I'm sticking with Chrome. IE has gotten faster but it's still got moments where it gets a little slow and it's still not as stable as Chrome and I can't open images separately in different tabs in IE like I can with Chrome.

That is the feature I miss most although I am using the alternative now (save to pictures library). Other than that, chrome has become quite a memory hog lately and slow some times, albeit, I have to admit this is something noticeable on just one machine I have (same extensions and plugins on all machines).

thenetavenger said,
Ok, pony up.

Show one example of when Microsoft ever restricted access to one of its services or blocked Chrome?

If Microsoft was 'the same' or doing the 'same activities', not only could they have blocked Chrome, but they could even make Chrome not able to run on Windows, let alone restrict just its web access to services.

This is where people should remember that back when Google was suing Microsoft over Vista and IE7 and creating Chrome, that even with the 'litigation', Microsoft helped Google with the development of Chrome, as it uses the same 'sandbox' principles that Microsoft had developed for IE7, which Microsoft shared with Google.

One company plays pedantic games, the other doesn't. Microsoft still works with Apple and Sony, who are even bigger competitors to Microsoft's bottom line, and continually tried to reach out to Google over the years.

That was very well said

Me after reading this > http://assets0.ordienetworks.c...e/clapping/citizen_cane.gif

Perfect72 said,

Nope.

That's what i thought.

thenetavenger said,

Ok, pony up.

Show one example of when Microsoft ever restricted access to one of its services or blocked Chrome?

If Microsoft was 'the same' or doing the 'same activities', not only could they have blocked Chrome, but they could even make Chrome not able to run on Windows, let alone restrict just its web access to services.

This is where people should remember that back when Google was suing Microsoft over Vista and IE7 and creating Chrome, that even with the 'litigation', Microsoft helped Google with the development of Chrome, as it uses the same 'sandbox' principles that Microsoft had developed for IE7, which Microsoft shared with Google.

One company plays pedantic games, the other doesn't. Microsoft still works with Apple and Sony, who are even bigger competitors to Microsoft's bottom line, and continually tried to reach out to Google over the years.

You do realize you're talking about a company that have basically been the target of some anti-trust lawsuits right? Losing some, settling others?

I'm not saying the same as in "Microsoft blocked Chrome from bing maps", i'm saying the same as in "Engaging in anti-competitive behaviour", which people think this is.

They've done it tons, and they've lost so badly on it, which is why i wondered if all this behaviour is acceptable to Perfect72 when Microsoft does it, which apparently it is.

However you could say they blocked the possibility Chrome on Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 if you'd like an example that fits your description

So no, it's not one single company being pedantic, and it's not one single company engaging in anti-competitive behaviour.

That's because you can't use another browser than IE on Windows RT? When you wan't to create a browser for RT, you need access to the desktop APIs and guess what doesn't excist in Windows RT?

Studio384 said,
That's because you can't use another browser than IE on Windows RT? When you wan't to create a browser for RT, you need access to the desktop APIs and guess what doesn't excist in Windows RT?

It exists, Microsoft just restricted access to it.

FISKER_Q said,
It exists, Microsoft just restricted access to it.
He's right. I'm pretty sure there's a Desktop version of IE in Windows RT as well. I'm not sure why, but it's there.

They tested an unsupported browser and found that it didn't work properly at the time of testing. It might not have been a problem with IE itself, rather the Google Maps build at the time might have cause the issue with IE since they don't test the build with unsupported browsers before rollout.

Edited by Simon-, Jan 7 2013, 3:34pm :

Google is the one using unsupported standards and then trying to force them. Web Kit enabled browsers are a hackers dream to become standard. Why do you think Google wants Web Kit? It allows them to mine even more data off your device.

They couldn't just apologize and reverse their decision they had to throw in some BS attack about IE performance being worse than Firefox? IE10 mobile is currently getting the best scores on Sunspider tests. Google's Chrome browser for Android meanwhile is still beta and getting the worst performance out of any mobile browser. Almost double the time of IE10 to render a page on Android.

These moves by Google are no joke. Limiting access to websites on the basis of web browser threatens to end the free and open Internet. If Google is allowed to deny access to certain browsers then what is to stop other websites from selling access to their site to specific web browsers? Full Facebook site only if you use IE or Firefox. Google continues to downgrade all of it's websites to users of Windows Phone. When you set the option for "Desktop" mode in IE settings on Windows Phone Google forces extremely limited mobile versions on you. This only happens with Google owned websites, they ignore your request for the desktop version of the site.

Avatar Roku said,
They couldn't just apologize and reverse their decision they had to throw in some BS attack about IE performance being worse than Firefox? IE10 mobile is currently getting the best scores on Sunspider tests. Google's Chrome browser for Android meanwhile is still beta and getting the worst performance out of any mobile browser. Almost double the time of IE10 to render a page on Android.

These moves by Google are no joke. Limiting access to websites on the basis of web browser threatens to end the free and open Internet. If Google is allowed to deny access to certain browsers then what is to stop other websites from selling access to their site to specific web browsers? Full Facebook site only if you use IE or Firefox. Google continues to downgrade all of it's websites to users of Windows Phone. When you set the option for "Desktop" mode in IE settings on Windows Phone Google forces extremely limited mobile versions on you. This only happens with Google owned websites, they ignore your request for the desktop version of the site.

They obviously meant performance as in working and not in which browser did the fastest JavaScript.

Avatar Roku said,
They couldn't just apologize and reverse their decision they had to throw in some BS attack about IE performance being worse than Firefox? IE10 mobile is currently getting the best scores on Sunspider tests. Google's Chrome browser for Android meanwhile is still beta and getting the worst performance out of any mobile browser. Almost double the time of IE10 to render a page on Android.

These moves by Google are no joke. Limiting access to websites on the basis of web browser threatens to end the free and open Internet. If Google is allowed to deny access to certain browsers then what is to stop other websites from selling access to their site to specific web browsers? Full Facebook site only if you use IE or Firefox. Google continues to downgrade all of it's websites to users of Windows Phone. When you set the option for "Desktop" mode in IE settings on Windows Phone Google forces extremely limited mobile versions on you. This only happens with Google owned websites, they ignore your request for the desktop version of the site.

+1

The information about the 'mobile' offering even when the browser is set to 'desktop' mode is where Google loses face.

IE10 on WP8 with the exception of a couple of features, is code identical to the IE10 on the desktop version of Windows 7/8. IE9 on WP7.5 and Win7 are also identical engines. Pick one of the 'goofy' feature test sites that test HTML5 features, IE9 or IE10 on WP will get the identical score the desktop versions of IE9/10 get.

So by restricting the WP7/8 versions because of the user agent alone is nothing more than a lie from Google that there is any difference in functionality. If Google wants to close off all the IE9/10 users because of a lack of 'features' then need to shut down access to their services for the desktop users as well. Which Google will NOT do as it is a rather large portion of their user base.

Google is showing how petty they can be, and yet people are wanting to let Google control standards. Insanity...

Avatar Roku said,
They couldn't just apologize and reverse their decision they had to throw in some BS attack about IE performance being worse than Firefox? IE10 mobile is currently getting the best scores on Sunspider tests. Google's Chrome browser for Android meanwhile is still beta and getting the worst performance out of any mobile browser. Almost double the time of IE10 to render a page on Android.

These moves by Google are no joke. Limiting access to websites on the basis of web browser threatens to end the free and open Internet. If Google is allowed to deny access to certain browsers then what is to stop other websites from selling access to their site to specific web browsers? Full Facebook site only if you use IE or Firefox. Google continues to downgrade all of it's websites to users of Windows Phone. When you set the option for "Desktop" mode in IE settings on Windows Phone Google forces extremely limited mobile versions on you. This only happens with Google owned websites, they ignore your request for the desktop version of the site.

It just says Google Maps Mobile is build for Webkit browser. It is not saying the performance of IE10 is poor. Chrome on Android is the worst **** browser. Tons of checkerbox when scrolling. Lagging even on my Nexus 4. Even the stock Android 4.2 browser wins the **** out of it. It is just the branding "Chrome" makes people thought is faster.

tanjiajun_34 said,
It just says Google Maps Mobile is build for Webkit browser. It is not saying the performance of IE10 is poor. Chrome on Android is the worst **** browser. Tons of checkerbox when scrolling. Lagging even on my Nexus 4. Even the stock Android 4.2 browser wins the **** out of it. It is just the branding "Chrome" makes people thought is faster.
They said that IE10s performance is poor. Anyway, if Google Maps Mobile is build for Webkit, then why was Gecko and Presto not blocked? And even then, WP users get every time the desktop version of it...

Studio384 said,
They said that IE10s performance is poor. Anyway, if Google Maps Mobile is build for Webkit, then why was Gecko and Presto not blocked? And even then, WP users get every time the desktop version of it...

From article
"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."
They didn't say performance is poor.

From article again
"The Firefox mobile browser did offer a somewhat better user experience and that's why there is no redirect for those users."
Answers your second question.

Paraphrasing Google's response:

"Oh, ****, people actually noticed? Oh, ****, this is making us look bad... Uh, quick make up some PR bull****!"

It would have been more honest if Google actually admitted to "being evil."

By restore, do they mean let WP users use the desktop version of google maps?
Because from what I've seen and read thats all they ever had access to, which doesn't seem very practical on a mobile device.

Roxkis said,
By restore, do they mean let WP users use the desktop version of google maps?
Because from what I've seen and read thats all they ever had access to, which doesn't seem very practical on a mobile device.

It does the mobile version pretty poorly, the web version is much better but not perfect either.

The versions of IE on WP and desktop are not the same, with the WP not support the HTML5 touch events. This is why it does not perform correctly since it will not do zooming etc.

Roxkis said,
By restore, do they mean let WP users use the desktop version of google maps?
Because from what I've seen and read thats all they ever had access to, which doesn't seem very practical on a mobile device.

Google's ability to provide basic functionality like other mapping sites with basic HTML features is rather disturbing.

From location awareness to deep zoom technologies (that Microsoft Research created in the late 90s) to even basic UI features that 'acknowledge' touch properly based on W3C standards for 'touch', Google is probably more embarrassed that they program their way out of a paper bag, let alone just CONFORM TO PROPER HTML5 standards instead of needing a NON-STANDARD webkit engine.

IE9/IE10 on WP are code identical to the desktop versions on Windows 7/8, yet Google doesn't mind supporting the full 'touch' and user experience for IE9/10 on the desktop.

Recent improvements to IE mobile and Google Maps

I don't recall any changed to IE in the past days... trying to hide something Google?

Niekess said,

I don't recall any changed to IE in the past days... trying to hide something Google?


Pretty sure he meant WP8 vs WP7 there

Niekess said,
I don't recall any changed to IE in the past days... trying to hide something Google?
Oh Google, excuses, excuses, excuses..

yea right?? google: "because we thought your experience with our service might not be as good for your device, we decided to discontinue the service for your device and redirect you somewhere else."
this was the most ridiculous excuse I have ever heard. and by the way it is still redirecting.

Never, ever rely on or trust Google. Believe me. I live and work in China and I've seen first hand just how childish they can be. Then they had the nerve to blame the Chinese government. Finally they told us that China isn't a big market.

There are some 400 million users here who've learned how to live without Google. We don't miss them or their imbecilic attitudes.

Don't do evil. Be it.

S3P€hR said
and by the way it is still redirecting.
Google hasn't changed it just yet. The title says "Google to restore". See where it says "to", that means they're going to, but they haven't yet.

Jarrichvdv said,

Pretty sure he meant WP8 vs WP7 there

That actually makes the argument even worse. A year old version of WP7.5 running IE9 is all of a sudden no longer supported because WP8 with IE10 has been released?

Why?