Owners of Windows Phone devices who were looking to receive mapping services from Google will certainly be disappointed to learn that the Internet giant has blocked their access to its popular Google Maps service.The move was initially reported by some Windows Phone users who were trying to access the service through their handsets’ browser, but has been since confirmed by the Mountain View-based company itself.
Apparently, this applies to the mobile browser version of Google Maps, which was built to offer a great experience to those who access it using WebKit-based browsers.
With Internet Explorer not falling into this category, it’s no wonder that issues have started to appear, yet it’s uncertain whether Google indeed blocked users from accessing the service or not.
According to the company, Google Maps should have never worked on Internet Explorer on Windows Phone devices, since it is not a WebKit browser.
“The mobile web version of Google Maps is optimized for WebKit browsers such as Chrome and Safari. However, since Internet Explorer is not a WebKit browser, Windows Phone devices are not able to access Google Maps for the mobile web,” the company told Gizmodo in a statement.
On the other hand, it seems that Windows Phone users have actually been able to access the service until recently, and that some of them might still be able to do so on Nokia Lumia 920 devices when going to http://maps.google.co.uk.
Furthermore, IE for Windows Phone was built based on the desktop flavor of the application, which works just fine with Google Maps.
“Internet Explorer in Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 use the same rendering engine,” Microsoft confirmed. Which means that Google might have indeed tempered with Windows Phone users’ access to the service, since the same did not happen on desktop PCs.
It’s yet unclear why the Internet giant would decide to make such a move, but it would not be the first time that this has happened. Recently, Microsoft suggested Google was also blocking its YouTube app for Windows Phone from fully accessing the service's metadata.