New Google Maps Feature Upsets Users, Gets Removed Within 24 Hours

The feature, which started arriving for some iOS Maps users about a week ago, showed the number of calories someone would burn if they chose to walk a short route.

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With the new feature, users saw a pink cupcake icon that automatically showed them how many calories they would burn if they walked to their destination. For example, as Buzzfeed pointed out in one example, a four and a half mile walk would burn around 406 calories: "that's nearly 4 mini cupcakes", the app reads, alongside a pink cupcake graphic. Then again, many people love to eat cupcakes, not thinking about calories.

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The app tallied calories in confectionary units: one mini cupcake equalling 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 nearly 2 mini cupcakes!". The online backlash was mainly regarding the effects this feature could cast on users with eating disorders. The feature was in testing for the last week or so. "Oh my god and if you click walking directions it auto tells you how much food you'd burn off what the fuck", Lorenz proclaimed. 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. There was also no opt-out option available, forcing anyone who used the app to see the built-in feature.

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Users have reacted badly to cupcake metric on social media describing it as "shaming" and some saying it could be a trigger for people suffering from eating disorders. The feature was pulled Monday night, and Google confirmed to BuzzFeed News that it was removed in direct response to the negative feedback. This was all based on an estimated calorie count, though, which could be wildly inaccurate depending on how much a person weighs and how tall they are.

  • Gina Adkins