If you’re a regular Google Maps user, you might have noticed a slight change in your app interface. Google recently tested a new feature that estimated the number of calories users would burn if they walked a route instead of driving.
Forced calorie counting is bad enough, but the app used mini cupcakes (which they estimated to be about 110 calories) to put the movement into perspective. Groan.
Naturally, there was a ton of backlash against the new feature, and Google ended up pulling it last week.
It’s not particularly healthy or productive to think about dessert as something you have to “earn” or “burn off” by walking. Dessert is something you should enjoy—and that’s it. What’s more, a calorie tracker could be triggering for someone suffering or recovering from an eating disorder.
It’s also important to remember that everyone burns a different amount of calories depending on their height, weight, and age. Whatever average Google came up with for calories burned would likely be way, way off for most people. Not to mention calorie counting is inherently flawed.
Though we’re all for walking more, driving less, and encouraging people to take small steps to be healthier, the execution of Google’s new feature was unfortunately more harmful than helpful.