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Google Says In-Browser Maps Will Come Back to Windows Phone

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Google Says In-Browser Maps Will Come Back to Windows Phone

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First, Google Maps "didn't work on mobile IE" and redirected to the Google homepage. According to Google:

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.

In the past few days, however, some light tinkering made it increasingly clear that Google Maps works just fine on the newest iteration of porta-IE. So why the redirect-wall? Today, Google told TheNextWeb that the redirect was a result of out-of-date compatibility testing, and that full Maps functionality is on the way (though with no stated timeframe) for Windows Phone users:

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 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.

Was the redirect a "product decision" as Google claims, the result of sluggish compatibility testing in an area (read: Windows Phone) that is maybe not a high priority for the company? Or was this the action of a competitor? Let us know what you think.

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