How to: run Google Maps Go (PWA) on Windows 10 Mobile

Published by at

A week or two ago I did a feature on running modern (2018) PWAs (Progressive Web Applications) under Edge on Windows 10 Mobile. And, while it's clear that Edge/W10M will never get to the same functionality level as desktop browsers, most PWAs run just fine right now. In this case, I wanted to highlight Google Maps Go, a PWA designed for running on low end Android phones. Turns out it runs perfectly under Windows 10 Mobile too!

As with most PWAs, until web sites and manufacturers start promoting them a bit more, it's crucial to start off with the right URL. And, unfortunately, in this case the URL isn't memorable. If you're reading this web page in Edge on your phone then just tap the link below. Or, if you're using the AAWP Universal app then you could copy and paste it into the URL bar in Edge. Or, again, use '...'/'Open in Web Browser' from the app...)

The URL you need is https://www.google.com/maps/?force=qVTs2FOxxTmHHo79-pwa

With that tapped on or typed or pasted into Edge, you're off to the races. Literally, if you wanted to go to the races anyway(!) Via car, public transport or on foot.

Now, don't get your expectations up, this PWA doesn't include a real time sat-nav mode. But it does include access to Google's latest maps, traffic, transit, and satellite maps and data. Which is half the battle. And, it should be noted, there are several native Windows 10 UWP applications which do the same as Maps Go here, not least Maps App Discovery, so all of this isn't necessarily providing you, the end user, with functionality that you didn't already have. I just thought that the capability (and URL) was interesting!

Here we go with a walkthrough then. Pasting in the URL above into Edge, I got:

Maps Go PWAMaps Go PWA

Searching, the (zoomable) map, type of directions needed and map options, all on the one screen - Maps Go keeps things simple... (right) finding something on the map lets you then swipe up to see more details in the usual Google Maps way, including web links, opening hours, reviews, etc.

Maps Go PWAMaps Go PWA

Planning a route to a location takes into account real time traffic, though you don't then get real time directions. Instead, you're back to route instructions. Is this down to limitations of a PWA? Probably. Remember that this is still, effectively, just a massively functional web page at the end of the day, and you're in the Edge browser!

Maps Go PWAMaps Go PWA

Satellite view in action - you can also have traffic or public transport overlays but not both at the same time; (right) a public transport journey example, clearly laid out.

It's certainly a URL to add to my favourites and also now pinned to my Start menu. It's official, being part of Android Go, though I do expect that Google might at some point provide an easier to remember and easier to type URL to access this PWA app!

PS. Edge is good at keeping tabs open, so be careful you don't end up with multiple tabs open, all with Maps Go PWA instances! Don't keep tapping on a Start screen shortcut, for example. Check your tabs!