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

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


The company chose to measure calorie burn in mini cupcakes, which they probably felt was a cutesy way of getting the message across, but the whole thing came across as somewhat judgemental, patronising and potentially unsafe - as the company found when news of the feature spread to Twitter.

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.

The app considered one mini cupcake to be equal to 110 calories.

Google is removing an experimental feature from its iOS version of Maps following a social media outcry.

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The company said in a blog post that it signed on food ordering services such as EatStreet,, DoorDash and Olo. Facebook also confirmed that it is teaming up with specific restaurants, including Jack in the Box, Panera, and Five Guys.

The feature was designed around encouraging users to be more active by displaying how many calories could be burned by walking to a chosen destination. To illustrate those calories, the app said how many mini-cupcakes a person would burn during the jaunt. According to The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) 30 million people suffer from eating disorders in the USA and they have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. MapMyFitness (which is owned by Under Armour) has offered a feature called "Route Genius" since 2014, creates maps for walking and running based on users' fitness goals. It's interesting that for the past week, this feature was in the testing phase.

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.

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

Critics accused the cartoon cupcake counter of being patronizing, promoting body-shaming, and possibly triggering unhealthy behavior in people who have struggled with eating disorders or over-exercise, BBC reports. "Now you can visit these places-along with many other planets and moons-in Google Maps right from your computer".

  • Kyle Warner