Google Maps ditches misleading walking calorie counter


A simple conversion of calories burned to cupcakes earned

By clicking on the walking option, you'd even be shown the calories in equivalence to mini cupcakes (of all things). 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. Not only that, but the feature also revealed how many pink "mini cupcakes" in equivalent calories they would burn.

In an apparent effort to encourage people to walk rather than drive, Google Maps started showing alternative walking directions when short driving directions were requested, complete with a note on how many calories you'd burn during the walk. "One mini cupcake is around 110 calories".

Google is ditching a planned feature for Maps following criticism on social media.

"To help put that into perspective, we've estimated how many desserts your walk would burn". It may be the case that these sorts of behavioral nudges can be useful in promoting healthy behaviors, but many consumers were understandably irked that an app that they downloaded for a different objective offered them unsolicited health advice.

Users flocked to criticise Google Maps, with many pointing out that since Google used calorie estimates for the "average" people - the resulting information wasn't very helpful to users looking to burn more calories. TechCrunch also wrote that excessive calorie counting "is a hallmark of anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders".

Following the feedback, Google has chose to remove the feature from its iOS app.

In particular, users objected to the fact that there was no way to turn off the feature.

The tech company confirmed via email Tuesday that it disabled the function Monday night due to "strong user feedback".

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