Google ditches its calorie estimator in Maps after criticism

Wednesday, 18 Oct, 2017

MapMyFitness (which is owned by Under Armour) has offered a feature called "Route Genius" since 2014, creates maps for walking and running based on users' fitness goals.

But it was a secondary feature in the walking directions that led to the controversy: in addition to displaying the calories burned, it converted them to mini cupcakes.

Google Maps will remove a widely criticized experimental iOS feature that estimated how many calories its users could potentially burn by walking a route.

Google confirmed to Buzzfeed late Tuesday that the feature would be removed due to "strong user feedback". "She cited the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, writing that "[as] many as 30 million people in the United States are estimated to have an eating disorder".

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The app tallied calories in confectionary units: one mini cupcake equalling 110 calories.

On Monday night, Google pulled the feature, which it said was an experiment on its iOS app.

Others are shaming people who eat cupcakes is not cool and this may trigger those who actually have eating disorders. But the biggest issue was over the way it showed how many "mini cupcakes" those calories were worth.

One of the things that has inflamed so many people is Google's way of saying that an average person burns about 90 calories for each mile on foot. "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". Additionally, the app doesn't take into account a user's personal health information, in the least height and weight, to calculate the calories that would be burned.