Windows Phone users: You've got Google Maps access

Windows Phone users: You've got Google Maps access

Summary: Google is no longer blocking access to Google Maps for Windows Phone users.


Windows Phone users began noticing on January 9 that they could access the Google Maps Web site using Internet Explorer.



Windows Phone users' lack of access to the Google site came to light late last week. Google officials said that they had "always" disabled access to the Google Maps site for Windows Phone users. A number of Windows Phone users disagreed and said they believed Google began redirecting them more recently to the generic Google site when they tried to access maps.

Google officials initially said that the Google Maps site wasn't working for Windows Phone users because the Internet Explorer versions that are part of Windows Phone don't use the Webkit rendering engine. This argument didn't hold water given that Internet Explorer on Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows RT uses the same Microsoft "Trident" rendering engine as IE on Windows Phone does -- yet users on Windows were able to get to the Google Maps Web site with no problem.

I've seen a number of users claim that no one should want to use Google Maps on their Windows Phones, given Bing and Bing Maps are the preferred/integrated solution there. However, I can attest that Bing Maps are not always accurate when I've used them to search locally on my Windows Phone, so I, for one, wanted Google Maps access as a back-up.

Over the weekend, Google officials said that unspecified "recent improvements to IE mobile and Google Maps" had led Google to work on restoring access to the Google Maps site for Windows Phone users. (No one at Google elaborated on what that changed was or when changes were made.)

I asked Google officials today if there was any more information about what led to restoration of Google Maps access and whether it may be discontinued in the future. I have not received any word back so far.

Update: A Google spokesperson confirmed the redirect is in the process of being removed for Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8 users and is being rolled out worldwide in the coming days. Users who can't see Google Maps in the browser should make sure their phonese are set to mobile mode in IE. For desktop mode, the redirect removal is going to be coming soon, the spokesperson said. Google is not going to remove the redirect for Windows Phone 7.0 users, the spokesperson said.

Some Windows Phone users seem to be not-so-pleased with the way that Google Maps is working in Internet Explorer. Romit Mehta (@theromit), for one, who was having problems with type-ahead search and drop-downs.



I just tried it myself and got it to give me good enough walking directions for the search I attempted.

A couple of related things that might be worth pondering/reading:

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Bill Reiss had an interesting blog post about why Microsoft should and could switch out Trident for Webkit. Microsoft officials have remained steadfast to date in insisting on using Trident. But never say never with the new Microsoft....

And in case you missed it last night, Google has dropped its International Trade Commission H.264 patent case against Microsoft over the Xbox, follwing the culmination by the Federal Trade Commission of its antitrust investigation of Google.

Update: I am hearing from some Windows Phone 7.x and 8 users outside the U.S. that they still cannot access Google Maps. So maybe access is only restored (for now) for U.S. users? I will ask Google if/when I hear back as to what the rollout plan is.   The worldwide removal of the redirect for Windows Phone 7.5/8 users is happening and will be done soon, the aforementioned spokesperson confirmed above.

Topics: Smartphones, Google, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Windows Phone users: You've got Google Maps access

    Don't want it especially with the way Google has been treating the Microsoft Windows Phone users. They can keep their apps and their spying. You have plenty of other choices ranging from Nokia Drive to Bing Maps to one of the many navigation apps in the store.
    • bing not an option

      microsoft spies on me way more
      • Whatever you say drwrong

        whatever you say. ;)
        William Farrel
        • oh

          but google spies, that's a given right? I was replying to L.D.
      • holy cow...

        who makes 99% of their revenues from selling ads and knowing what ads to target to you?
      • Really?

        Have you seen how many times Google has been taken to court over privacy issues in the last few years? It is way more then Microsoft.
    • Loverock Davidson ...I hate to clue you in but

      windows maps in Metro/Windows 8 can't eve find my home puts me 19 miles away...... Google Maps put me a quarter mile away and I can drag and drop my starting point right onto my door step......THATS MAPING
      Over and Out
      • please clue me in.

        "windows maps in Metro/Windows 8"? What the hell are you on about?

        Happy "maping".
      • You mean the same Google maps

        that led a driver into the river, or into the middle of a busy highway?

        Those google maps?
        William Farrel
        • wait

          Wasn't Google Maps the perfect solution out there, and wasn't it Apple Maps that brought people to wrong places?

          I find all these claims pathetic.
        • Led a driver into the middle of a busy highway?

          I would think that was one of the better places for a driver to find themselves? Unless of course they wanted to be in the middle of a river at the time.
          Little Old Man
        • Why are we all arguing?

          At least it is not Apple Maps right. ;)
      • Does your Win8 device have a GPS?

        if not, it is using data provided from your hotspot provider.
        • All WP8 phones

          Have GPS.
          • Win8 or WP8?

            He didn't say he had a WP. He mentioned Win8.
      • Yeah, Metro sucks

        If you would put your monitor upside down you would be 61 miles away.
        Isn't it awesome when you can travel just but turning your monitor?
        And yes, Metro and Windows 8 suck the same way your TV sucks because you do not like the channel that is on.
      • You mean...

        ...the Wi-Fi based location tracking? Why would you expect that to work? Try GPS instead...
      • Move!

    • What about YouTube google. When will you

      allow MS to use the YouTube APIs the ios and android YouTube clients use. Are you also following up on this issue MJF?
      Johnny Vegas
      • Agreed

        I hope that does not get pushed up under the rug.