Google to restore Google Maps access for Windows Phone devices

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Jan 052013
Google Maps

Windows Phone users started reporting yesterday that they could no longer access Google Maps. They were instead redirected to Google’s mobile search page. Initial suspicions ranged from some sort of technical issue to Google willfully blocking access. When Google initially responded, it explained that Google Maps was optimized for WebKit browsers and that other browsers such as Internet Explorer would not be able to access it. Confronted by howls of protest and proof that this was a new development rather than something that had always been true, it appears to have changed its tune somewhat.

Google today issued the following statement to The Next Web:

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 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.

As Google points out, the version of Internet Explorer found in Windows Phone 8 handles the Google Maps much better and it will remove the redirect it has put in place.

Google is well within its rights to decide to support or not support non-Webkit browsers. But it should have been more transparent about its recent decision to redirect IE traffic to its main search page. The move follows Google’s recent decisions to stop supporting Microsoft ActiveSync and statements that it had no plans to develop Windows Phone version of its apps.

Read more: The Next Web

Google Maps for iPhone downloaded 10 million times in first 48 hours

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Dec 172012

Google MapsIt appears that there was a bit of pent-up demand for an alternative to Apple Maps among iOS users. Google’s Jeff Huber today announced that Google Maps for iPhone was downloaded over 10 million downloads in the first 48 hours that it was available.

We’re excited for the positive reception of Google Maps for iPhone around the world. Congratulations to the Maps Team on the recognition for the passion and hard work they poured into it, for this release and over the last 7+ years.

Google Maps for iPhone shot to the top of the App Store charts and remains there today.

Read more: Jeff Huber [via Google+] (Source: TheNextWeb)

Google Maps now available for iPhone and iPod touch

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Dec 132012

As expected, Google has launched much-anticipated Google Maps for the iPhone and iPod Touch (4th gen). Former users of the app will find it familiar but the interface has been refreshed in much the same way that Google has recently updated other iOS apps such as Gmail and YouTube.

Navigate your world with Google Maps, now available for iPhone. Get comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps with built-in Google local search, voice guided turn-by-turn navigation, public transit directions, Street View and more. Use Google Maps to discover great places to eat, drink, shop and play, with ratings and reviews from people you trust. Sign in to save your favorite places and quickly access all your past searches and directions from your computer, right on your phone.

Google also took the time to remind its users that it makes “tens of thousands of daily updates” to keep Google Maps accurate and asks users to shake their phones to send them feedback if something is not right.

Google has also released the Google Maps SDK for iOS so that developers can integrate Google Maps in their own apps.

The Google Maps app is available as a free download for the iPhone and iPod Touch (4th gen) iOS 5.1 and higher. An iPad version of the app is not available at this time.

Read more: Google Official Blog

Google Maps returning to iOS tonight?

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Dec 122012

Google MapsIf Apple Maps has left you wanting or driven you over to bookmarking on your iOS devices, there good be some good news tonight. AllThingsD reports that Google will release its new iOS Maps app tonight.

Google Maps had been preinstalled on iOS devices from the time that the first iPhone launched. It was dropped from iOS 6 this fall in favour of Apple’s own Maps app. Responding to wide criticism and ridicule for its many inaccuracies, Apple CEO Tim Cook went as far as publishing an open letter apologizing for the quality of the app and vowing that Apple would do “everything we can to make Maps better.”

It will be interesting to see how Google Maps fares against Apple Maps. If nothing else, as AllThingsD points out, anyone holding out on upgrading to iOS 6 over the mapping software will now be able to take the plunge.

Read more: AllThingsD

iOS 6 Google Maps app in the works?

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Sep 212012

Google MapsThere may be hope for iOS 6 users struggling with Apple’s new Maps app. UK’s The Guardian reports that Google is working on a new Google Maps app to replace the one that Apple removed in the latest version of its mobile operating system. The report is light on details but Google will presumably repackage it as an iOS 6-compatible app and submit it to the App Store for users to download if they so wish.

Google Maps was not the only Google application Apple removed from iOS 6. Also gone is the YouTube app but it a new version now available in the App Store for the iPhone (with an iPad version coming a bit later). It makes sense that Google would take the same route with its ampping application.

Until Google Maps is available in the App Store, users can still use Google Maps in their browsers.

The report provides no timeline as to when the new app might be ready. But a rumour that Google had already submitted the app for approval and that Apple had yet to approve it appears to be incorrect. The very reliable The Loop‘s Jim Dalrymple, had a simple comment on this bit of news: “Nope.”

iOS 6 is the first version of iOS not to feature Google Maps preinstalled.

Read more: The Guardian and The Loop

Google announces offline mode for Google Maps for Android

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Jun 062012

Google today held an event to introduce “the next dimension of Google Maps” where it revealed that the Android version of its mapping application will soon support an offline mode. Despite the lack of connectivity, Google Maps will still function and support GPS and compass features (assuming these are enabled). The mode will work down to the street level.

It remains to be seen how saving these offline maps will work and how many maps users will be able to download.

The announcement comes as Apple is expected to announce at WWDC that it is replacing Google Maps with its own mapping service in iOS 6. Google Maps has been part of iOS since the iPhone launched in 2007.

The update to Google Maps for Android will be pushed out in some 100 countries over the next few weeks.

Google to hold Maps event on June 6th

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Jun 012012

Google has sent out invitations for a Google Maps event next week. The June 6th event will unveil the “next dimension” of its maps product.

June 2012 Google Maps event
Credit: CNET

Google will provide a “behind-the-scenes look at Google Maps” and a “sneak peek” at upcoming features that “will get people where they want to go — both physically and virtually” is also planned.

The event is scheduled just days ahead of WWDC. One announcement to possibly come from Apple’s own event is that it is dropping Google Maps in favour of its own mapping technology.

Read more: CNET

Google Maps 6.0 for Android now works with indoor maps

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Nov 292011

Google today announced a new version of Google Maps for Android. The main new feature in version 6.0 is the new support for indoor maps.

When you’re inside an airport, shopping mall or retail store, a common way to figure out where you are is to look for a freestanding map directory or ask an employee for help. Starting today, with the release of Google Maps 6.0 for Android, that directory is brought to the palm of your hands, helping you determine where you are, what floor you’re on, and where to go indoors.

Indoor maps are currently only supported for a small number of retailers, airports and transit stations in the US and Japan. Among these are Chicago O’Hare (ORD), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Narita International (NRT), Mall of America, IKEA, and The Home Depot. Google is also promising to add new indoor maps to public buildings across the world in the near future.

Google Maps 6.0 for Android also comes a new way to switch between features in the toolbar and a new Places home screen.

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