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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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  • 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.
  • Not So Fast... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Squeebee (719115) <squeebee@g3.14mail.com minus pi> on Sunday January 06, 2013 @01:44PM (#42496639)

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

  • by Dr Modesto (1004773) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @01:44PM (#42496641)
    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.
  • 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 mystikkman (1487801) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @02:31PM (#42496991)

    Bullcrap. It certainly works quite well. Certainly no reason whatsoever to redirect.

    Video Proof:

    http://wmpoweruser.com/video-proves-that-the-google-maps-mobile-web-app-is-perfectly-usable-on-windows-phone/ [wmpoweruser.com]

  • Re:Don't be evil (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 06, 2013 @04:06PM (#42497737)

    But they weren't assholes to complain about propietary APIs in use by Microsoft. It's the right complaint to make.

    My read on the article is that early versions of the Windows browser sucked and the "best thing to do for the user" was not to dump them into an app. that didn't work well. If that is their actual reason it's completely valid. The more ideal technical solution would be to give the user a choice and a "remember" checkbox and store a cookie for their preference. But the fact that they didn't go this far doesn't make them evil.

    If you bump into someone on the bus it's normal, unless they are of a different race, in which case your carelessness was sign of your deep inner prejudice. If you find that sentence believable, then you can stick with your original premise.

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

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @04:20PM (#42497855) Journal

    They want to remove the crap API code and the easiest way to start that was denying access when using Internet Explorer.

    Except they didn't deny access when using IE. They denied access to anything with "Windows Phone" in its User-Agent string.

    And what is the "crap API code" in question? Especially given that, once you spoof the UA string, maps work just fine in IE10 on WP8?

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

    by Genda (560240) <mariet@got.nERDOSet minus math_god> 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?

Man must shape his tools lest they shape him. -- Arthur R. Miller

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