Google Maps ditches misguided walking calorie counter

An online backlash prompted the change.

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Saqib Shah
October 17, 2017 4:28 AM
In this article: backlash, gear, google, GoogleMaps, mobile
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Google is ditching a planned feature for Maps following criticism on social media. The update was tied to directions and displayed how many calories you'd burn if you were to walk to your destination. By clicking on the walking option, you'd even be shown the calories in equivalence to mini cupcakes (of all things). Chances are, the search juggernaut was trying to encourage people to take the active route as opposed to driving. But, its attempt at promoting a healthy lifestyle didn't go down well online. A number of people lambasted the feature on Twitter, claiming it would "shame" and even "trigger" those with eating disorders.

Taking note of the negative reaction, Google is now dumping the experiment. It confirmed to Engadget that the update was briefly tested on iOS, and has been abandoned based on user feedback.

As The Hill's Taylor Lorenz noted in her tweets, there was no way to turn off the feature. Lorenz also claimed that using pink cupcakes as the unit of measurement was "lowkey aimed at women." Others pointed out that Maps wasn't the appropriate place for the update. After all, there are plenty of fitness and calorie counting apps that keep track of your activity and consumption -- again emphasizing how misplaced the feature was. Maybe now Google will stick to its strengths, providing updates (like parking guides, videos, and Q&A comments) that are genuinely useful. It can save the sweet treats for Android.

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Update: We incorrectly stated that Taylor Lorenz worked at Politico. She actually works at The Hill. Apologies.

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Google Maps ditches misguided walking calorie counter