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Google Backs Down On Maps Redirect 240

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.
  • 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:Don't wory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moronoxyd ( 1000371 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @01:38PM (#42496591)

    Well, as a Opera user I can use pretty much any website that works with Firefox or Chrome. As long as the designer of that page didn't artificially exclude Opera or I mask my browser as Firefox or IE.

    The problem is not Opera but bullshit web designers.

  • Re:Don't be evil (Score:3, Insightful)

    by carvell ( 764574 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @01:47PM (#42496667) Homepage
    Can we please have one discussion regarding Google without somebody chiming in with the "Don't Be Evil" thing?
  • by Andy Prough ( 2730467 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @01:49PM (#42496681)
    It's been covered repeatedly that Google makes more from iPhone than from Android: []. I don't know what the comparison will be with Windows phone, but it is a source of revenue. And some people will be required to carry a Windows phone device by their companies. Google would surely want a piece of that action.
  • Re:Don't be evil (Score:4, Insightful)

    by __aasehi2499 ( 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:Don't be evil (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 06, 2013 @02:09PM (#42496831)

    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."

  • by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @02:14PM (#42496879)

    Actually when it comes to navigation, WP uses nokia maps as base. Those are ahead of google map by a very big margin in terms of accuracy, as they use NavTeq mapping data.

    NavTeq collects mapping data from paid local agents and organisations, and has been doing so before Google came to existence.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @02:29PM (#42496967) Journal

    Google made android NOT to lock people into Android but to avoid being locked out of iOS and Windows Phone and Symbian and Blackberry. Okay, so the last three ain't a threat anymore (or in one case, ever) but we saw what Apple tried to pull, lock Google Maps out and force people to use Apple Maps. Which was an amazing success story for Apple... well... this time. But next time?

    Google developed Chrome to push web browser development because they didn't want to wait for IE or Firefox to get off their lazy ass. Especially IE, they made a capable fast browser designed to deal with any futuristic Google wishes to develop and the rest of the browsers either had to catch up OR be replaced.

    Google KNOWS that in order to sell petrol, you need to sell cars. Well okay, that in order to sell inkjet ink, you need to sell printers. Google Maps could never have run well enough to replace Tom Tom on IE6, so Google pushed IE6.

    And Google knows that on tightly controlled devices like mobile phones were it used to be the norm that the telecoms decided what was and was not available, they could all to easily be replaced. All of their services. So they rolled their own phone just to make sure they couldn't be completely locked out. Google isn't intrested in selling browsers or mobile phones, it primary interest is making its services so widely available that all who want to use it, can use it and then see the ads, that Google serves and makes it money from.

    Google has given everyone a fast car, so we will buy lots of petrol. Given everyone a printer so they can sell lots of ink. Make web services supported by ads capable of replacing dedication payed for applications, so Google can sell ad space rather then software.

    In order to operate in the open market space it needs to hang up its ads, it has ended up building most of the market. Quite funny if you think about it, because ANY of the other players could have had Androids market share but none did.

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

    by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @02:40PM (#42497075) Homepage Journal

    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 about to tear them a new asshole, until George Bush took office. Bush Junior has never met a monopoly that he didn't like, so the DOJ was called off.

  • 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 with no explanation why.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 06, 2013 @02:59PM (#42497219)

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

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

    by lxs ( 131946 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @03:40PM (#42497523)

    They were pretty cool before the IPO, after that their morals have been in a slow downward spiral. Although I wouldn't consider this move evil, just petty and immature.

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

    by LurkerXXX ( 667952 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @04:05PM (#42497723)

    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:Perfect Example (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @05:03PM (#42498193)

    If your argument was valid, then Microsoft's lock-in of the desktop market at 90%+ was irrelevant as anyone could switch to Linux or Mac at the drop of a hat. That obviously wasn't happening as there are more factors in play than just having other options available.

    The simple fact is, that the Windows phone browser worked just fine, and used the same engine as the desktop, which was not blocked. When you spoofed the user agent header, it also worked fine on the Windows Phone.

    I suspect Google saw that they went to far, and backed off. Was it evil? Probably not. Dickish? Probably. Anti-competetive? Possibly since Android is the dominant OS in the market, and Windows is by far one of of the weakest competitors.

  • Re:Perfect Example (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @05:54PM (#42498525)

    You do realize it's not a matter of just using another search engine. If the market dominant search engine is also one of the best, switching to something that is sub-optimal isn't going to be a good choice for many. You are suggesting it's just a matter of picking another. There's a reason Google is the #1 search engine, and highly desirable for both end users and for businesses to be listed there.

    You are ignoring that facet.

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

    by andydread ( 758754 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @06:04PM (#42498593)
    But Microsoft has denied access to any other browser on Windows Phone. where is the outrage?
  • Re:Don't be evil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eskarel ( 565631 ) on Monday January 07, 2013 @12:17AM (#42500727)

    Microsoft have denied access to anyone, period, writing native code for Windows Phone. It's perfectly possible for any of the major vendors to release a browser(even a pretty decent one) in managed code, but it would involve all of them creating and maintaining a parallel code base which none of them want to do. If you want to port webkit to a managed language supported by windows phone and build a browser around it, nothing I've seen in Microsoft's Terms of Use will stop you(unlike Apple which allowed native code but forbid browsers).

"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong." -- Norm Schryer