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Google Backs Down On Maps Redirect 240

Posted by samzenpus
from the on-second-thought dept.
Dupple writes "A few days ago Google blocked access to its maps on Windows Phone 8, claiming that it 'worked best' on WebKit-based browsers — effectively excluding WP8 users. This, despite Google Maps working fine on desktop versions of IE that use the same rendering engine and users being able to spoof the user agent string on their WP8 devices to gain access. Now it appears that Google has backed down and is now allowing WP8 users access."
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Google Backs Down On Maps Redirect

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  • Don't be evil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kawabago (551139) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @01:25PM (#42496421)
    How soon they forget.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by carvell (764574)
      Can we please have one discussion regarding Google without somebody chiming in with the "Don't Be Evil" thing?
      • Re:Don't be evil (Score:4, Insightful)

        by landofcleve (1959610) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @01:51PM (#42496695)
        If they hadn't made the grand declaration of it being their motto in that holier than thou kind of way which was directed at companies like Microsoft, then yes, but since they did, then no.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Google has yet to behave in the same manner Microsoft has for decades.

          It is funny how the "Hey Google, stop being evil!" only applies to Google controlling how Microsoft uses its systems. If a Microsoft employee walked onto my property, it is a right to kick them off, not "being evil."

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by LurkerXXX (667952)

            Microsoft never claimed their motto was "Don't be evil". Google did. They are the ones who openly invited that evaluation, they are the ones that should be trying to live up to their own claim.

            • Re:Don't be evil (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Genda (560240) <[mariet] [at] [got.net]> on Sunday January 06, 2013 @11:33PM (#42500489) Journal

              It was Google's founders who framed the motto, and under their guide Google avoided acts that could be construed as evil. The founders were bought out, and now the "Business Folk" who run post IPO Google use the "Don't be evil" directive as a nice suggestion when its convenient, because profit always comes first, and second, in fact profit fills the top 10 priority space. If you have to kill a few babies to make that black ink flow, then so be it, this is America, right?

              • by tlhIngan (30335)

                It was Google's founders who framed the motto, and under their guide Google avoided acts that could be construed as evil. The founders were bought out, and now the "Business Folk" who run post IPO Google use the "Don't be evil" directive as a nice suggestion when its convenient, because profit always comes first, and second, in fact profit fills the top 10 priority space. If you have to kill a few babies to make that black ink flow, then so be it, this is America, right?

                It still applies. Just I think Google

                • It still applies. Just I think Google has refined it to be "Don't be evil to our customers". I think Google even said that, pre-IPO even.

                  Hint:You're most likely not Google's customer.

                  For those confused as to whether or not you're a customer ask yourself one question "Do I pay Google?" If the answer is no, you're not a customer, you're a product that Google pimps out to the highest bidder.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Runaway1956 (1322357)

          Ohhh, I don't know about all that. The DOJ spent - what? - nineteen months and several millions of dollars investigating Google. They couldn't find anything with which to beat Google down. I would guess that Google isn't doing a very good job of being evil. Note that they said "don't be evil", they did not say "let's be fucking saints".

          Can Google screw up? Yes.

          Has Google screwed up? Yes.

          Has Google pissed me off? Yes.

          Even so, Google is more good than bad. Microsoft can't say the same. The DOJ was ab

      • by spongman (182339)

        Can we please have one discussion regarding Google without somebody chiming in with the "Don't Be Evil" thing?

        no.

    • by Dan667 (564390)
      microsoft has been evil a lot.
    • by walterbyrd (182728) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @10:02PM (#42500047)

      Remember Microsoft telling the world they had no obligation to support a competitor's product?

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      I don't know that this is necessarily Evil. Has Google done this kind of thing to anyone else, big or small, or is it just Microsoft?

      Microsoft pretty much defines this kind of behavior - embrace, extend, and exclude/extinguish. From where I'm sitting, someone finally has something Microsoft needs, or pretends they need, so Google is basically just giving them a taste of the same medicine they've been feeding the entire industry for 25 years now.

      So, Microsoft - what's wrong with Bing Maps? Get over it and mo

  • by Andy Prough (2730467) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @01:31PM (#42496493)
    This whole idea that Google wants to shut device users out from their services is beyond stupid. Google wants one thing - to make money serving up ads. They want users of ALL devices looking at their maps, using their search, using their gmail, etc, etc, etc.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's because someone else can use google's APIs and bypass google adverts to server their own. Why do you think Apple preferred to release a broken maps application rather than continue to use google's? Because they wanted that ad revenue for themselves, and don't care about their customers. Google did not block browser access, win-phone could still using the service with their browsers, what they couldn't have was alternative win-fied applications.

      • Yes, if you could block the Google ads and replace them with your own you'd be doing well.
      • by Ferzerp (83619)

        Why do people just make things up as you've done here?

        Using the built in browser, browsing to maps.google.com redirected to just the generic search page. Google was refusing to serve up the webpage to windows phone users. This has nothing to do with APIs accessing google maps. They blocked the phones' browsers entirely.

        • Why do people just make things up as you've done here?

          Using the built in browser, browsing to maps.google.com redirected to just the generic search page. Google was refusing to serve up the webpage to windows phone users. This has nothing to do with APIs accessing google maps. They blocked the phones' browsers entirely.

          To his defense, he just seems to be confusing together two separate recent episodes of Google blocking access to their service for Microsoft platforms.

          One was WP8 phones being redirected away from mobile Google maps, just based on browser UA string (if WP8 users faked their UA, the service worked perfectly, so the mobile IE10 browser is fully capable of rendering the code). The other was that Microsoft is not getting the same rich API access to Youtube for WP8 Youtube app as Android and iOS Youtube apps

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dr Modesto (1004773)
      True. I think the concern though is that if Microsoft or Apple were to gain dominance of the platforms used to access services then Google is vulnerable. Which is why Android was such a good move and explains their ambivalence toward platforms controlled by rivals.
  • by fermion (181285) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @01:33PM (#42496513) Homepage Journal
    A few weeks ago, Google Maps started acting flaky. This was amazing because Google is supposed to be the best at web development. In any case, it was clearly a situation where they just made things needlessly complex. Like MS used to do and still does. It will be googles downfall if the continue to game the market instead of just developing innovative products. And really it will be a shame. They are competent, but if they fall to fear, and the desire for profit instead of providing end users the best product, it will not end well. I hate to say it, but Bing and the MS WIndows Phone are competitive, and they are competative because Google has just been sitting back thinking how they can screw people.
    • The whole redesign of google.com is a bit shit. They moved a lot of easy access stuff on the left into a dumb smaller menu at the top that hides half the stuff away. Seriously, why is news hidden in a dropdown? Why waste 1/3 of the screen and put nothing there because I might want to look at a tiny unreadable thumbnail of a cached web page?

      It feels like Google is at that point that they're just changing things for the sake of changing them.
  • Backs Down? (Score:3, Funny)

    by johnvile (2560845) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @01:33PM (#42496525)
    I think you mean U-turn
  • Not So Fast... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Squeebee (719115) <squeebee@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Sunday January 06, 2013 @01:44PM (#42496639)

    My Lumia 920 with WP8 still redirects maps.google.com to the Google homepage.

    • by tpotus (1856224)
      Clear your cache and wait for the DNS to catch up.
    • by jkrise (535370) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @01:58PM (#42496765) Journal

      My Lumia 920 with WP8 still redirects maps.google.com to the Google homepage.

      Dude... did you install the latest Service Pack which came out yesterday?

      And did you reboot your phone after taking off the battery, removing your clothes and loudly proclaiming "I Love Microsoft Products"? Follow the above steps and if your phone still behaves oddly, chances are, the 128-bit registration key has already been registered by the only other user of Windows phones, so call support to get a different key.

    • by Carewolf (581105)

      Nokia N9 with its WebKit based browser does the same. Seems to be a two part block, all windows phones and all Nokia phones regardless of rendering engine.

      • by SpzToid (869795)

        Yes, I can confirm this as true now.

        Whereas I can distintly recall an instance about 2-3 months ago when I accessed maps.google.com, (or was it maps.google.nl but nevermind because both fail now), and maps.google.com worked fine on my Nokia N9 built-in webkit browser, but the interface was un-usable actually. Switching to the built-in Nokia Maps application, (which I previously absently-mindly forgot about), worked wonders at the time when I needed it.

      • There have also been reports of some Blackberry devices being redirected, and Samsung's Bada phones, too. It's not clear what the logic behind it all was (it's certainly not just "we only support WebKit", as Google claimed, though - and there are non-WebKit browsers that weren't blocked, like Firefox on Android).

    • For some reason, my Debain desktop was doing the same thing last time I tried to get into Google Maps.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 06, 2013 @01:56PM (#42496739)

    The mobile version of google maps uses touch events not supported by IE10 mobile, it has nothing to do with the rendering engine!
    So they will get google maps but not with the best experience.

  • I love Android (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shemmie (909181) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @02:12PM (#42496857)

    and I'm a huge Google Products fan boy.

    That being said, this is stupid, and 'evil' (For their use of 'evil', not "just like the Nazi's" evil).

    Intentionally blocking any browser is insane. They have tools already for saying "This version of this browser is known not to work well with this product", without needing to block the product entirely. It's nothing more than Google leveraging its position to block Windows Phone 8 - which is a shitty, cheap thing to do, and something they would have bitched like hell about if MS had done it back when they were the big dog.

    It's something I really wouldn't have associated with Google, so clearly I need to re-evaluate my thoughts on them. I didn't see them as a Saint - in fact I viewed all transactions as "I pay for this product with my personally identifiable information so you can sell more ads". But that MO would require them to allow as many people to use their services as possible - not blocking people in some sort of petty attack.

    You don't have to be a Windows Phone user to be offended by this.

  • by drolli (522659) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @02:22PM (#42496925) Journal

    Assume you are google. You obviously test your services for compatibility on some devices and you figure out that maps is basically unusable for a specific user group, which is less than 3.5 percent of all your users. They give negative feedback since they believe they device froze or something, and are as noisy as 20% percent of the other users. Now you decide to place some sign wich says:"sorry doesnt work right now." I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    There are enough sources of free and paid for electronic maps on mobile devices. Nokia offers maps, some navigation system providers have apps, and osm also exists. Yipp. I tried it. Its very well possible to live without google maps.

    The best part is that the writer of the original article demand detailed infromation from google but whenever he talks about his own (seemingly contradicting) experiences, the article contains a lot of "i am virtually sure" phrases and 'it mast have been in that way' logic.

    • by 21mhz (443080) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @02:56PM (#42497205) Journal

      Assume you are google. You obviously test your services for compatibility on some devices and you figure out that maps is basically unusable for a specific user group, which is less than 3.5 percent of all your users. They give negative feedback since they believe they device froze or something, and are as noisy as 20% percent of the other users. Now you decide to place some sign wich says:"sorry doesnt work right now." I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

      I think so too. Unfortunately, they didn't do that. They just redirect Windows Phone users to www.google.com with no explanation why.

      • "I think so too. Unfortunately, they didn't do that. They just redirect Windows Phone users to www.google.com with no explanation why."

        Couldn't they .......... [justfuckinggoogleit.com]?

  • if anything this is Google tightening their grip on mapping. People don't complain about what they don't care about and there is no way to make money if no one uses your services.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Google's new motto: Only be a little bit evil.

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @06:56PM (#42498933)

    Google and Microsoft fighting over phone map apps. Apple and Google fighting over the same. The HTML5 video codec patent conflict between Apple-and-Microsoft and everyone else. Maybe the real problem is that we have these tech giants, and they try to do everything in every area vaguely electronic. They aren't trying to just make and sell(/license) the best products any more: They have each created their own self-contained ecosystem, and are doing all they can to make sure that their ecosystem thrives while not in any way encouraging those of their competitors.

    Maybe this wouldn't happen if we actually had an operating system company, and a phone company, and a maps company, and a web browser company, and a video technology company, and a company store, and so on. Sure, it would mean more of a headache to get all this tech to play nice together - but we wouldn't end up in these ridiculous situations where your phone refuses to talk to your favorite mapping service because that service is run by a competitors of the company that programmed the phone.

    • by Waccoon (1186667)

      Maybe this wouldn't happen if we actually had an operating system company, and a phone company, and a maps company, and a web browser company, and a video technology company, and a company store, and so on.

      You just described what the PC industry used to be. You know, the one with endless amounts of vendor crapware, mal-ware gallore, and $500 laptops that self-destructed in 6 months. There's no dispute that the overwhelming majority of OEMs have done a terrible job building products out of the endless pile of building blocks available.

      Apple came along with their closed ecosystem and made countless billions. Closed ecosystems are what the market wants, because open ecosystems just don't work very well for th

  • IE 10 has Do Not Track enabled by default, Google don't want do not track, but simultaneously don't want to look like they're violating it, so they blocked IE 10 on phones, not a shocker.

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