Google Maps Drops Calorie-Counting Feature After Twitter Backlash
Google‘s mapping team has reportedly ditched an experimental feature for its iOS Google Maps app that estimated how many calories users could potentially burn by walking a route.
While the feature was not groundbreaking in innovation, having been built into other mapping apps such as Citymapper for a while, Google (GOOGL) has had such “strong user feedback” that the calorie estimator will no longer appear in Google Maps for iOS, according to TechCrunch.
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. If a walking route was chosen, calories were displayed in the step-by-step directions, but not on the map itself. The calories were communicated in equivalence to the amount of “mini cupcakes.”
The attempt at what looks to be a promotion of healthy lifestyle choices was castigated online, where people took to Twitter to suggest the feature could “shame” and even “trigger” those with eating disorders (which in the U.S. is said to be around 30 million people).
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Politico journalist Taylor Lorenz noted that there was no way to switch the feature off. She also suggested the “pink cupcakes” unit of measurement was “lowkey aimed at women”.
Popular digital publication Jezebel didn’t hold back: “First of all, mini cupcakes? That’s exactly the sort of snack a gaggle of Soylent-chugging gym nerds eternally cloistered in the amniotic sac of a Google conference room would assume we on the outside are shoveling into our maws, taking breaks only to unlock our car doors or use our sticky fingers to order more mini cupcakes.”