Google Maps Kills Controversial ‘Cupcake Calorie Counter’ Amid Outcry

Credit: Men's Health

Google on Tuesday said it will axe an experimental feature that’s been in testing via its proprietary Maps app for iOS, which was designed to give users a rough estimate of how many calories they’d burn by walking, rather than driving, their selected route.

It sounds like a useful tool, to be sure, and we can even see how it might encourage people to walk more often. However, while it may offer a unique opportunity to count calories and stay fit, Google’s feature also displays precisely how many “mini cupcakes” those calories equate to.

For its part, the search-giant waged a fairly reasonable case for why it implemented the cupcake counter, citing how “the average person burns 90 calories by walking 1 mile,” and to help put that into perspective “we’ve estimated how many desserts your walk would burn” — however the explanation has not bode well with users, and Google has faced a tremendous amount of criticism over the feature so far.

So much so, in fact, that the cupcake counter will officially be removed from the Google Maps app for iOS tonight, a representative told TechCrunch, citing that the decision was “based on strong user feedback.”

While some may have welcomed the cupcake counter — or, at the very least, not really cared either which way — others were annoyed for a myriad of reasons. Some users, for example, were peeved by the mere fact that Google was sending them “unsolicited health advice,” with no explanation of where it came from or how to make it go away.

Others, meanwhile, voiced their concerns that the feature exuded to an “excessive preoccupation with calorie tracking,” which is symptomatic of eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, and the cupcake counter could be a trigger for them.

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