After a huge hubbub over the weekend it seems Google has kept to their promise of making Google Maps for the web available to Windows Phone 8 users.
The website is only accessible if your phone is in mobile browser mode, else the infamous re-direct is still in place.
In mobile mode a relatively finger-friendly but classically Android-ugly mobile mapping website, which can give walking, driving and also public transit directions is accessible, which may be a good solution for Windows Phone users to bookmark where a Microsoft or Nokia solution is not available.
Google has issued a statement to The Next Web in which they claimed their recent decision to place a redirect in place was based on testing with older versions of Windows Phone, and that they have now re-evaluated their decision based on â€œrecent improvements in IE Mobileâ€.
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 Google.com where they could at least make local searches. The Firefox mobile browser did offer a somewhat better user experience and thatâ€™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.
Given the scale of Google it is somewhat laughable that they did not test their maps on IE10 Mobile before making their decision, making their statement, as one commenter mentioned, sound like "bullshit".
Of course the main outcome is that when Google was exposed as a liar they were forced to back down, meaning that the outcry served a very important purpose, and when we are wronged we should never just accept it in silence.
As of this time of writing the redirect is still in place â€“ on wonders if and when Google will lift it, and the quality of the product we will find at the other side.
Are our readers happy with the outcome? Let us know below.
Nokiaâ€™s who is rebranding themselves as the Where company in an attempt to leverage their Navteq asset, has according to Reuters scored a major win by displacing Google in Amazonâ€™s new Kindle tablets.
Apple took a similar step earlier this year, when it dropped Google Maps in favour of its own mapping features for its next mobile operating system, known as iOS 6.
While the Kindle Fire runs Android, it does not integrate with Googleâ€™s Play store or use any of Googleâ€™s proprietary apps, and is often held up as the premier example of how Google has lost control of Android.
The next generation of Kindle tablets is rumoured to have location-based services included, backed by Nokiaâ€™s mapping data.
The tablets are expected to be announced next Thursday. A Nokia spokesman declined to comment.
After several weeks of vanishing gMaps Pro has been returned to the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.
The app has been re-branded after complaints by Google which affected a number of apps in Marketplace.
GMaps took the opportunity to add some features and bug fixes, and report the resulting version 1.23 version is now much more stable.
New is an alpha version of Streetview. gMaps also added China region detection and offset auto correction. They also improved navigation by adding auto rerouting and current step highlighting.
Unfortunately because a new app had to be submitted users will not be able to upgrade from an old version to the current version, and most unfortunately users will have to purchase the app all over again. This was a result of a SNAFU from Microsoftâ€™s end, explained in more detail on the teamâ€™s Facebook page here.
One of the most popular Windows Phone 7 apps, if Google has actually ported it to Marketplace, would have been Google Maps, but since the company has been pretty negligent of WP7 users, a homebrew effort to using Google Maps data by TechAutos has been pretty welcome.
Now TechAutos Maps v2.0 has ben released, and for the first time it is an official Marketplace app, available to all.
TA Maps uses sources like Google Maps and OpenStreetMap and gives better coverage in many parts of the world than Bing Maps.
The app features:
GPS location tracking
Driving mode (keeps map centred on GPS location)
GPS sensitivity settings
Smoothly restores your last map view and pushpins
It is however important to note that the app does not at present include driving directions, but the developers promise that this will be coming and also additional map/search sources, and more point-of-Interest data in upcoming updates.
TechAutos have released TA Maps, an unofficial Google Maps client for Windows Phone 7. While a work in progress and not currently full-featured, it gives WP7 users access to a good alternative to Bing. However, it requires a developer-unlocked phone as it has not yet been certified through Marketplace (and, being unofficial, is unlikely to be).
Download links and instructions can be found here.
Google Maps for Mobile has just been updated to allow two way synching of starred (favourite) items between the desktop and handheld. The technology is useful for finding items on your big screen and navigating to it on your small screen, and also for preserving locations you want to remember while out and about.
The software can be downloaded at m.google.com/maps.
Bing for Mobile has also seen an update, which apparently brings auto-locate, faster search help, letting you type less, faster access to maps to allow you to get to a location more quickly, advanced local search, and â€œquick answersâ€ to help you make decisions on the go.
Google has added friend-tracking to its Google Maps mobile client. The service allows you to use the cell or GPS position of a some-one from your gmail contact list who has consented to be tracked and see their location on your phone or even desktop.
It also adds a twitter-like element, as it allows status updates to be added to the information, allows your friends not just to say where they are, but also what they are doing. The app will also store contact details, meaning calling contacting friends via SMS or e-mail is easily accomplished. In some ways the app seems to be another bold move by Google into the social networking space.