December 8, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
Google 2 – Modders 0. Though it previously took a hands-off approach regarding hacks, Google has been a little more forceful with keeping users in line. First there was Cyanogate, and now the company has blocked use of Google Maps Navigation outside of the United States.
Google Maps Navigation is officially supported on in the United States only on the Motorola Droid and other 1.6+ Android devices. However, members of the XDA modding community recently found a way to get voice navigation to work on Android phones outside the U.S. Today, community members suddenly began reporting that the hacked version of the Google Maps app stopped providing navigation access. Despite efforts to correct the problem, users in Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, and other locales could not enable navigation.
It’s understandable that people would be frustrated by Google blocking the workaround, but the company probably had no choice. Google does not own the licensing rights to provide navigation for map data it uses in Europe, so they could have faced legal troubles by not being proactive in stopping unauthorized use. Modders are at work to discover a new workaround, but prospects for a successful fix seem bleak.