Google Maps feature divides the internet

The idea behind the concept was simple enough - to let users know how many calories they could be burning if they made a decision to walk instead of drive a route, The Washington Post noted.

Google will cut a criticized feature from its iOS Maps app that tracks and estimates how many calories a user burns while walking a particular path, reports TechCrunch. Wegmans grocery offers mini-cupcakes that are 97.5 calories each, while Canada's Prairie Girl Bakery, for example, sells mini-cupcakes that each contain 200 calories.

Google responded by telling Buzzfeed that it was only a test feature, not rolled out to everyone, and is being removed by the end of the day. The feature crudely estimated the number of calories that would be burned by walking to a location versus driving or taking the bus. "One mini cupcake is around 110 calories".

On top of that, Google Maps put the calorie counts into perspective by converting them to mini cupcakes. Furthermore, calorie estimates for "average" people is so vague that the information isn't very helpful without more context about how it was calculated.

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While Google's introduction of the feature was a little tone-deaf, the kneejerk withdrawal strikes me as a bit of a shame overall: as an opt-in feature, I feel this would likely have been welcomed by plenty of people who know that the auto is tempting and want an incentive to be more active.

Google recently added the cutesy - and possibly half-baked - feature as an experiment.

In particular, users objected to the fact that there was no way to turn off the feature. However, it does not clarify the standard for an "average" person.

But following a backlash on social media, the feature was shelved after critics accused Google of both fat shaming and triggering those with an eating disorder. The company could even issue an update to take into account the user's weight, height, age and gender. Unfortunately for Google, theirs is the most popular one.


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