Verizon Wireless Currently Blocking GPS Features For Google Maps

Dec 16, 2008 • 7:46 am | comments (14) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Other Google Topics

If you are a Blackberry Storm mobile user on the Verizon Wireless network and want to fully utilize Google Maps, you may be out of luck. Tom from the Google Maps team said in a Google Mobile Forum thread that Google Maps is not able to use the Verizon Wireless GPS feature at this current time.

Tom does explain that they are able to locate your location through cell phone towers or wifi networks, but the accuracy is clearly not as good as it would be, if it was able to utilize the GPS service. Tom said:

I wanted to provide a little background for people with Verizon Wireless devices who aren't able to use their device's internal GPS with Google Maps for mobile. Access to GPS data on Verizon devices is restricted to certain applications. At this time, Google Maps for mobile isn't included in that list. However, two other methods of determining your location, Cell ID and Wifi access points, can be used to pinpoint your place on the map.

The problem is, most of the folks in the thread don't buy what Tom is saying. They are confident that Verizon Wireless's GPS feature is unlocked. They think Tom is talking about something else. They think it is just an excuse and Google is buying time to release an update to the program.

So, is Verizon blocking Google from using the GPS feature on the Blackberry Storm or is Google looking for an excuse?

Forum discussion at Google Mobile Forum.

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Jaan Kanellis

12/16/2008 07:44 pm

Yup I have a BB Storm and just tried to get on Google Maps today to go some where. No luck. pretty stupid of Verizon.


12/17/2008 12:32 am

As you can see from the rest of the posts, tom is wrong. I am one of the main contributors to this thread and I can attest the fact that verizon does not block GPS. Tom was accustomed to Verizon blocking GPS. The storm was the first blackberry (and now others) to have the GPS unblocked. The problem is with google NOT verizon.

Jaan Kanellis

12/17/2008 02:44 pm

Ian why wont Google Maps work on BB Storm?


12/19/2008 09:44 am

Ian, you're wrong. It IS verizon... if you unlock your storm, why don't you try putting in a US simcard and switching it to GSM only... open up google maps and ask it to get a fix. it gets it INSTANTANEOUSLY.

Travis Tubbs

12/26/2008 04:32 pm

I find it silly that a company infamous for the indefinite beta (how long as Gmail been in beta?) would try and push blame to someone else for their own product delays. Come on, Google. If that's true, what happened to "Don't be evil"? Of course, if it is Verizon's actual doing, that's a rather poor move on their part. But at the same time, it IS their network. Of course, this is also the network that would set an alarm off on your phone when you called 911 (not exactly useful when HIDING from someone), so it wouldn't surprise me that a poor move is being made here.


01/10/2009 05:27 pm

of the three gps apps I loaded, the only one detecting my location is vz navigator. I suspect vzn has not unblocked the gps or the settings are confining enough that third party apps are still unable to run.


02/19/2009 09:37 pm

Not sure if this thread is still alive since the last post was more than 5 weeks ago. I just wanted to comment that I hope everybody is clear now that it IS Verizon that blocks the GPS functionality for all 3rd party apps for all phones accept the BB Storm. I just purchased the Omnia from them after they told me that I'd be able to use the GPS for 3rd party apps. Now I find out (directly from them) that GOS is blocked. As a result, I will return the new phone and cancel my Verizon account, after 12 years as a customer. I'll then walk down the street and pick up an iPhone from AT&T. Verizon can take the phone and their network and shove it right up their ...

John C Edgar

03/03/2009 05:43 am

Verizon does block the GPS feed for 3rd party apps. It's a money thing. If google maps on the blackberry was more accurate via verizon's gps feed, then who would bother to buy VZ Navigator? That said, it's a stupid move. I've had my blackberry for two days, and I'm seriously considering returning it, cancelling my VZN service, and getting a phone from another company that doesn't screw over it's customers.


04/03/2009 06:06 am

I know the issue here is Verizon blocking GPS on Blackberry phones. Verizon disables GPS on their entire network for all GPS enabled devices, including Blackberry’s, Windows Smartpones and aircards. My Dell E6400 notebook with an embedded aircard has no GPS functionality that Dell built in because GPS is disabled. A great feature of my Lojack is tracking my notebook right on Google Maps doesn’t work because of GPS blocking. Verizon doesn’t stop at GPS blocking. Every device Verizon sells has many features blocked that the hardware manufacturers built into the hardware, like being able to sync with a PC to transfer music files directly to your handset on music capable phones. You are lucky if you have a Verizon phone with a removable storage card for this reason. Instead Verizon customers must subscribe to garbage apps like Vcast or VZ Navigator for monthly service charges on top of your rate plan. Verizon will tell you that GPS is blocked for one reason or another, but disabling GPS and and rewriting the manufacter’s OS to sell their apps is a huge revenue generator for Verizon. GPS is completely open on Sprint and At&t as well as the little guys like Kricket. Verizon has no plans on opening up their network, so it leaves only one option the the customer. MOVE TO ANOTHER CARRIER. This is the only way Verizon will change. When they see they are losing lines of service to the competition. I am as soon as my contracts are up.


05/01/2009 09:13 pm

I had a curve with AT&T and the GPS worked just as expected. I had to switch to VZW for reasons of my own and, although I noticed that Google Maps still worked, though less accurately, I didn't think much of it for several months, way past the 30 day trial period. Eventually I found out that VZW intentionally blocks the built-in GPS in all the phones it sells, strictly in order to force us to pay an additional $10/morth for VZ Nav. Don't believe any of their BS about "standards" or "security." (What makes the other big carriers less secure?) I've been absolutely furious at VZW since. Turn-by-turn navigation is most definitely NOT the only GPS-dependent use for a phone that is potentially useful. Yet, that's all VZ Nav offers. There are literally dozens of apps that could potentially make use of the built-in GPS functionality that I thought I had purchased with the rest of my Curve. The ONLY app that works with the GPS on my Curve is BlackBerry Maps, only after I upgraded the OS to 4.5, even though it came bundled with it. No other 3rd party app is allowed access to the built-in GPS. This is entirely VZW's doing. I'm also pissed at RIM for concealing VZW's dirty work. They should do a better job at warning the consumer of this intentional device crippling by VZW.


05/07/2009 12:23 am

I've been hacking on my XV6800 Titan for a while, giving it one last try after Verizon's change a couple months ago, that again disabled GPS. I gave myself one hour to re-hack it. That's elapsed, and now Verizon will be getting back my XV6800 and my SMT5800. I'm headed to Sprint for their HTC PDA, which I know has GPS wide open. I can sell my phones on Craigslist for roughly the amount Verizon will charge for early termination. T-MINUS THREE DAYS UNTIL I'M FREE OF VERIZON!


07/08/2009 08:06 pm

Honestly not sure whats up here but I have had my storm for a few months now, love it, and have the GPS chip working great with google maps and other GPS apps such as Poynt. It does take a min or so to get my initial GPS location but after that it tracks just fine. Originally I thought like most in this thread until I discovered that I had my GPS set to E911 only. To make it work simply go into Options>Advanced Options>GPS and set GPS Services to "Location On". After I did that GPS worked great on my storm


11/20/2009 01:06 am

I have tried several times to download google map but always failed. Today Houston, technician with Verzon verfied that it is blocked by Verizon. Please join me and lets take it to the court. I was never told that Verizon will block it.


03/24/2011 03:57 pm I can't believe this... Verizon sucks!! I don't understand how even Microsoft pushes big, it obviously needs a lot of work still. As it stands, its a useless search engine. The worst part, if you call Verizon to complaint, they blame it on RIM!! see below the email i got from Verizon... After i complained again and called their lie, they admitted that its them who blocks Google. Bot how can a company that size have a policy to lie to their customers and blame it on their partners is beyond my comprehension Form Verizon: Thank you for contacting Verizon Wireless. We greatly value your business and we are committed to provide you the best customer service possible. I am sorry to hear about the difficulties that you have been experiencing with your service. Since I was not able to reach you by phone, I wanted to send you an email to provide as much information as I can. RIM controls this feature of the phone, not Verizon Wireless. Please contact Blackberry if you have further concerns. Most questions regarding your device can be answered by visiting I hope that this information is helpful to you. However if you need additional assistance, please reply to this email with a daytime number to reach you. You can also give us a call at 800-922-0204 and press option 3 for technical support. You will want to make sure that you are calling from a separate line and that your device is available so that we can assist you further. We appreciate your business and thank you for using Verizon Wireless products and services. Shane K. MW Data Analyst Team

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