Amid backlash, Google Maps nixes short-lived calories-and-cupcakes counter

This feature will no longer appear on the app and users will no longer be informed about the calories that they will lose by walking the distance.

The California-based company has removed an experimental feature which estimated how many calories its users would burn while walking a route.

For people who welcomed the calorie estimates and now need to find an alternative, CityMapper provides a similar feature for walking and cycling.

"The more we have technology that promotes that view, the more people who may develop eating disorders might be triggered into that pathway". "One mini cupcake is around 110 Calories".


According to the Telegraph, "Users have reacted badly to cupcake metric on social media describing it as "shaming" and some saying it could be a trigger for people suffering from eating disorders". There's no way to turn the feature off, critics pointed out. Google, for what sane people would consider to be cute, used the cupcake emoji along with terms that stated things such as "you've burned 125 calories - that's more than 1 mini cupcake!".

In addition to the potentially harmful side effects of the feature, as the Washington Post points out, Google's measurements of both calories burned and calories per cupcake were questionable. For example, someone who weighs 250lbs will burn considerably more calories over that mile than someone who weighs 100lbs.

Whatever the reason, Google confirmed to this news organization Tuesday that it is removing the calorie counter, citing "strong user feedback". Google would estimate how many calories and mini cupcakes someone would burn and display the info alongside the suggested route on the map as well as at the top of the step-by-step directions. "If people want to count their calories then they should be given the option to do this, rather than it being enforced".

USA tech journalist Taylor Lorenz led the way, prompting a fierce online debate about the update after claiming it was triggering for people who struggled with their weight or eating disorders.

  • Kara Saunders