Google have completely back flipped on their decision to block the use of Google Maps on Windows Phone devices after a huge uproar from the Internet community. Through a statement provided by Google to The Verge, Google say they are “working to remove the redirect” that they had put in place. The full statement from Google is:
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.
This confirms many suspicions that the move to block Google Maps wasn’t anything technical related but to punish Microsoft users. After hearing about the block, Many Windows Phone users went to YouTube with video evidence of Google Maps working on their phones albeit not perfectly but still very usable. Check out the video below for an example.
Google also told The Verge that the Google Maps Mobile website was designed with WebKit browsers in mind (like Safari and Chrome) and they weren’t focusing on huge amounts of time testing applications on Microsoft’s platform. However, “recent improvements” have been made to deliver a better experience which has allowed Google to unblock the app – just 24 hours after blocking it.
In any case, it’s great that Windows Phone users are able to use Google Maps again on their phones. Let’s hope that Google doesn’t pull another reason out of a hat to try and block it again.