Google Maps will remove a widely criticized experimental iOS feature that estimated how many calories its users could potentially burn by walking a route.
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". Then it converts those calories into mini cupcakes.
The app tallied calories in confectionary units: one mini cupcake equalling 110 calories.
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Critics also noted that an excessive preoccupation with calorie tracking is a hallmark of anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders, so seeing calorie estimates every time they look up directions can have a very negative impact on sufferers. As many as 30 million people in the U.S. are estimated to have an eating disorder.
Although the spokeswoman said the tool should no longer be appear on the Google Maps app for iOS as of Monday evening, several CNN Tech reporters could still see the feature on Tuesday. Secondly it could make people feel shamed that they have not walked far enough or burned enough calories.
She also criticised it because it could not be turned off, and for being "wildly inaccurate" because it failed to take into account general health information. If you already have walking selected, the calories are shown in the step-by-step directions, but not the map. 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.
"Firstly it encourages competition, trying to burn more calories each day which could be triggering for some people who have a tendency to over-exercise".