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Google Maps Removes New Feature After Critics Say It Triggers And Shames Those With Eating Disorders

by Penn Collins

October 18, 2017

The popular Google Maps app recently came under fire by users for providing a little too much information about different routes users can take. The app, which has historically offered comparisons of travel times via walking, public transport, and driving, added a new feature (seen only by iPhone users as a test case) that many feel didn’t so much intend to inspire or help as it did to shame users. 

When offering up the walking route and travel time, the app would also share a rough calculation of the calories burned by walking this route. In case that metric didn’t resonate with its users, the app — helpfully or condescendingly, depending on one’s assessment — converted the calorie count into the equivalent number of mini cupcakes, as though that were some universal denominator understood by the public. 

There’s little doubt that the feature came from a good place of trying to encourage and inspire people to walk rather than ride, but its inclusion was met by vocal criticism online. 

Many felt that the info not only wasn’t warranted when trying to determine a route but could trigger those who suffer from eating disorders — and with no remedy because users reported the feature could not be disabled

Others appeared upset to have the proverbial curtain pulled back on the painful realities of calorie-burning. 

Google has, in the wake of the criticisms, pulled the feature altogether, citing strong negative feedback. 

Share image via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images and Taylor Lorenz/Twitter

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