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Google Maps Nixes Mini Cupcake Calories Tracking Feature After Backlash

19 October 2017

It told people how many calories they would burn if they walked and what that was in terms of cupcakes.

Google was subject to a lot of criticism from the public for introducing a feature in its Maps app for iOS that tracked and estimated how many calories a user burns while walking a particular path. 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.

"Secondly, not everyone wants to know how many calories they have walked off, and this can become a numbers game and could be potentially an issue for someone with eating issues. No one who eats cupcakes ever eats nearly 1 mini cupcake!" wrote a Twitter user who goes by Arch S.

We understand that such feature could have triggered users with eating disorders, but for many users who are trying to lose weight, such functionality could have helped in their weight loss journey. The feature was in testing for the last week or so. So, if you went to get directions for a 2.2-mile journey, Google would tell you that walking the route "burns around 199 calories - that's nearly 2 mini cupcakes!".

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The feature first started to roll-out to users on iOS about a week ago. There was also no opt-out option available, forcing anyone who used the app to see the built-in feature.

One user on Twitter claimed that the use of the mini-cupcake emoji was "extremely triggering" for "ppl [sic] who have had eating disorders" and is also "generally shamey [sic]", whatever that's supposed to mean. The feature was pulled Monday night, and Google confirmed to BuzzFeed News that it was removed in direct response to the negative feedback.

The reasoning was that calories are an abstract number to many people, and displaying them as cupcake equivalents would make the number more meaningful.

Google Maps Nixes Mini Cupcake Calories Tracking Feature After Backlash