People Hated Google Maps' Calorie Estimator For A Very Valid Reason

People Hated Google Maps' Calorie Estimator For A Very Valid Reason

Kenneth Drake
October 18, 2017

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. "She cited the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, writing that "[as] many as 30 million people in the U.S. are estimated to have an eating disorder".

BuzzFeed News' Katie Notopoulos documented a new, short-lived Google Maps feature that would suggest walking to a given close-by destination while telling you how many calories the average human would burn doing so.

One of the things that has inflamed so many people is Google's way of saying that an average person burns about 90 calories for each mile on foot. One mini cupcake was listed as equalling 110 calories.

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The cupcake calories estimator came under fierce criticism on social media after people noted obsessive calorie counting is a hallmark of various eating disorders.

According to a spokesperson from the company, they have taken this decision after receiving feedback from users regarding the dangers the feature poses. "The more we have technology that promotes that view, the more people who may develop eating disorders might be triggered into that pathway".

And although this new Maps feature might sound similar to how some restaurants are required to show calorie counts on menus, this is more aggressive. Maybe, Google can bring the feature back with alterations such as giving an option to disable the calorie estimate. Someone else wrote, "Anyone else feel like the google maps mini cupcake feature reinforces the idea that all exercise must be atonement for the sin of eating?" Another fix for the issue is by making the feature better by adding personalised elements like age, height, weight, and gender.