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.
As TechCrunch reported, Google added the feature to its iOS Maps app about a week ago. It showed not only calorie estimates, but how many “mini cupcakes” you could burn by walking. A number of users criticized the feature on social media, calling it judgmental and potentially triggering for those with or recovering from eating disorders. Other critics said there was no obvious way to disable it.
Google explained to Maps users who encountered the feature that “the average person burns 90 calories by walking 1 mile. To help put that into perspective, we’ve estimated how many desserts your walk would burn. One mini cupcake is around 110 calories.” 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 almost 2 mini cupcakes!”
Google did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment, but told TechCrunch that it’s removing the feature “based on strong user feedback.”
Google Maps now includes calorie estimates & I really don’t need this kind of judgment right now pic.twitter.com/f9y3fW71ld
— Catherine Bond (@DrKateBond) October 13, 2017
@googlemaps new calorie counting feature is very harmful to people w/ eating disorders or in recovery. Make it opt in; I’m changing apps
— Laura Mayron (@lauralydia93) October 14, 2017
I will legit stop using google maps if they don’t include a way to turn off that goddamn calorie count in their directions. For fucks sake.
— notyourmonkey (@notyourmonkey) October 15, 2017
Google Maps is now putting calorie calculations on walking routes without asking if you want them. Can’t work out how to turn it off.
— ?? Bat outta Mel ?? (@chevalier_cygne) October 15, 2017
@googlemaps are you kidding me with this calorie counting shit? at least make an option to turn it off?
— Nicole Sara (@nicniksar) October 17, 2017
Meanwhile, if you are interested in finding motivation to move more, sleep better, and improve your overall health, be sure to check out our roundup of The Best Fitness Trackers of 2017. Plus, if you’re looking to get or stay in shape, you can also check out our roundup of The 25 Best Fitness Apps of 2017.
In other Maps news, Google this week added another new feature users will probably like better than the calorie estimator: imagery from spacecraft Cassini, which launched from Cape Canaveral twenty years ago to study Saturn and its moons.
“During its mission, Cassini recorded and sent nearly half a million pictures back to Earth, allowing scientists to reconstruct these distant worlds in unprecedented detail,” Google Product Manager Stafford Marquardt wrote in a blog post. “Now you can visit these places—along with many other planets and moons—in Google Maps right from your computer.”