Google Pulls Maps Calorie Estimator, Adds Planets to Visit


According to BBC, Google has confirmed that the feature will be removed by the end of today.

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.

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. Some Twitter users called the calorie counter a trigger for those with eating disorders.

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

There doesn't appear to be an opt-out function. Users also pointed out that the information could be triggering for people with eating disorders. As Google Maps' explainer put it, "the average person burns 90 calories by walking 1 mile".

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". Or Google could embellish the feature to take into account details about the user's health, including general factors like age, weight, and gender.

For people who welcomed the calorie estimates and now need to find an alternative, CityMapper provides a similar feature for walking and cycling. It doesn't just show you the calorie count of the potential walk, it shows you what it amounts to in junk food - and in cupcakes, a type of food that is particularly associated with women. However, the app is not as widely used as Google Maps and doesn't include a cupcake comparison.