Google Maps turns off its controversial calorie feature after backlash

Google Maps
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If you used Google Maps in the last few days on your iPhone, you may have noticed a new feature at the bottom of the app — a counter estimating the number of calories you’d burn if you walked to your destination. If you haven’t used Google Maps in the last few days on your iPhone, don’t bother checking for that feature now. It’s already been discontinued as a result of massive backlash from a vocal user base.

While Google may have intended the feature to encourage folks to forego other forms of transportation in favor of a more environmentally friendly and healthful option, it had a rather triggering effect on some users.

Part of the problem, perhaps, was that in addition to telling folks how many calories they’d burn by walking, Google Maps also attempted to quantify this amount in terms of food. For example, Katie Notopoulos of BuzzFeed was told that she’d burn almost four mini-cupcakes worth of calories by walking nearly an hour and a half from her apartment to Times Square. Not quite the payoff that you might expect.

Google also had an additional three dots option users could tap to learn more about the calorie counter information, which noted that the average person burns 90 calories by walking a mile (is that really it?) and that a mini-cupcake contains about 110 calories.

Of course, this presented a rather one-dimensional view of health metrics. As Taylor Lorenz of The Hill pointed out, the calorie estimates Google provided didn’t take an individual’s stats (like height, weight, and overall fitness levels) into consideration. Plus, the choice of mini-cupcakes as a benchmark certainly seemed like an odd choice (one Twitter user noted, “I don’t even eat cupcakes“).

After the Twitterverse weighed in with their thoughts (and their thoughts were numerous), Google wasted little time removing the feature altogether. The tech company confirmed to BuzzFeed News that due to “strong user feedback,” the calorie counter in Google Maps would be deactivated. Luckily for Google, the feature was only ever a test, and available only to iOS users.