By Alexandra Burlacu email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Jan 09, 2013 09:04 AM EST
Google said that it is not blocking Google Maps on Windows Phone devices. On the contrary, it is working to restore access.
The search giant said the issue with Google Maps on Microsoft's mobile platform was not a jab to hurt competition, but was a result of poor performance.
On Friday, Jan. 4, Windows Phone users who tried to access the mobile Web version of Google Maps had a little surprise in store for them: They were redirected to Google.com on their phones. As Google stayed mum at the time, a slew of reports started surfacing, claiming that the search giant had blocked Windows Phone users from accessing Google Maps because of its tense relationship with Microsoft. Google has now taken a stand to clarify the situation.
"We periodically test Google Maps compatibility with mobile browsers to make sure we deliver the best experience for those users," Google said in a statement to the media, first obtained by TheNextWeb. "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."
The mobile version of Google Maps is optimized for browsers running Webkit, but Microsoft doesn't use it. Consequently, Google "chose to continue to redirect IE mobile users to Google.com," explained the search giant. On the other hand, some find this explanation hard to believe, because Firefox doesn't use Webkit either, yet Google Maps was accessible on Mozilla's mobile browser. In response, Google said that it did not redirect Firefox users because Mozilla's browser offered a slightly better user experience.
"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," noted the Google statement.
With a multitude of reports claiming all sorts of things, Google's statement insists on one thing: the company did intend to limit access to Google Maps for the Windows Phone platform, but the move was strictly related to performance issues. In other words, Google insists that its actions were not meant to undermine Windows Phone's value as a platform.