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Google kills Maps feature after complaints that it could trigger eating disorders


A new Google feature available to a small number of iPhone users did not last more than 24 hours as some complained that it "shamed" them for their diet or exercise habits.

Google is removing a cupcake-themed calorie counter from Maps after backlash from users, including concern over the feature being a possibly unscientific add-on that could trigger people with eating disorders.

Google quickly responded, telling CNET that it would drop the feature after receiving "strong user feedback".

As quite a few pointed out, the automatic calorie estimates appeared rather suddenly and did not offer any explanation or information as to how to turn it off, which annoyed quite a few users.

Critics also noted that an excessive preoccupation with calorie tracking is a hallmark of anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders, so seeing calorie estimates every time they look up directions can have a very negative impact on sufferers. "Not to mention just generally shamey".

According to Google Maps, "the average person burns 90 calories by walking one mile".


Perhaps Google will try testing this feature again in the future, but not until the dust settles from the failure of the first test. "One mini cupcake is around 110 calories", stated the app.

And then there were those who didn't see what the big deal was, even asking for help explaining cupcake-gate.

"I really can't express how much I hate this!" she wrote on Twitter.

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

However, a vocal minority of users decided that this is an offensive move on Google's part as it was merely an abstract number that was specifically targeting women with eating disorders.

"This walk burns around 313 Calories - that's nearly 3 mini cupcakes", said a message within the app's walking directions, CNN reported. But the Google cupcakes weren't chocolate anyway.

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