Google Maps Is Removing That Cupcake Calorie Counter After User Backlash

Wednesday, 18 Oct, 2017

Well, most of the Android community may not know about it because it was only a test feature for iPhone users. So, if you went to get directions for a 2.2-mile journey, Google would tell you that walking the route "burns around 199 calories - that's nearly 2 mini cupcakes!". Said feature informed to give users a general estimation of how many calories got burned during walks, which is a rather standard feature of many a fitness-oriented apps like Samsung Health, MyFitnessPal, and Endomondo.

The Verge also explained that on top of possibly triggering people with eating disorders, the estimated calorie burn as presented in Google Maps could be incorrect.

"To help put that into perspective, we've estimated how many desserts your walk would burn". One mini cupcake was listed as equalling 110 calories.

The new software addition immediately caused a stir online. It may be the case that these sorts of behavioral nudges can be useful in promoting healthy behaviors, but many consumers were understandably irked that an app that they downloaded for a different objective offered them unsolicited health advice. Then again, many people love to eat cupcakes, not thinking about calories.

Critics also noted that an excessive preoccupation with calorie tracking is a hallmark of anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders, so seeing calorie estimates every time they look up directions can have a very negative impact on sufferers.

The calorie count revealed itself when the user called up a driving route that covered a short distance, in order to promote the option of walking instead. Anyway, Google has removed the controversial feature, but we hope it comes up with an enhanced version of it.

Users will no longer see the feature from this week.

The tech company confirmed via email Tuesday that it disabled the function Monday night due to "strong user feedback".