Google Pulls Calorie Counting 'Cupcakes' Feature From Maps After Strong Backlash

Kelley Robertson
October 19, 2017

When people used Google Maps to search for a location and selected the walking option, it would tell them roughly how many calories they would burn and compared it to the number of mini cupcakes.

Google is putting the kibosh on a controversial feature it recently added to Maps that estimated how many calories you would burn if you walked a certain route instead of drove.

This feature kept track of the calories by using cupcakes as units.

Yesterday Google confirmed that the feature had been removed due to a strong user backlash, and presumably will not return to iOS or Android.

The feature was designed around encouraging users to be more active by displaying how many calories could be burned by walking to a chosen destination. "One mini cupcake is around 110 calories". If you already have walking selected, the calories are shown in the step-by-step directions, but not the map.

Google Maps is removing its automatic calorie estimates that were tied in with mini cupcakes.

According to a spokesperson from the company, they have taken this decision after receiving feedback from users regarding the dangers the feature poses. However, it does not clarify the standard for an "average" person.

As Politico's Taylor Lorenz noted in her tweets, there was no way to turn off the feature.

As one social media user wrote: Google Maps cupcake edition, we hardly knew ya. It's interesting that for the past week, this feature was in the testing phase.

Some critics even pointed out that such calories estimate feature would do more harm than good to a person that is battling with anorexia, for example, or other eating disorders. "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 vehicle doors or use our sticky fingers to order more mini cupcakes".

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