Technology

Google Maps Will Drop Its Automatic Calorie Estimates Beta

Google Maps Will Drop Its Automatic Calorie Estimates Beta”

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. But the biggest issue was over the way it showed how many "mini cupcakes" those calories were worth.

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". The feature crudely estimated the number of calories that would be burned by walking to a location versus driving or taking the bus. For example, a mini cupcake meant 110 calories.

The experimental feature was rolled out on the iOS version of Google Maps, beneath walking directions. It turns out that Wednesday is National Chocolate Cupcake Day (not to be confused with regular National Cupcake Day, which is December 15) - which would have been a prime opportunity for gimmicks galore to show off Google's cupcake calorie counter.

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"To help put that into perspective, we've estimated how many desserts your walk would burn". Because of this, many feel that Google's update was inconsiderate of those who deal with eating disorders and the emotional fallout that can be revived by ostensibly well-meaning features such as these. And it could be very a negative (or even triggering) experience for people who have an eating disorder.

Perhaps Google will try testing this feature again in the future, but not until the dust settles from the failure of the first test.

Namely, the feature's info did not really explain how and what is an "average person".

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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.

Some critics said the app could trigger people susceptible to eating disorders, especially since there was no option to turn the feature off. Unfortunately for Google, theirs is the most popular one.

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