A hand holding a space gray iPhone over a bicycle handlebars. The screen of the phone is displaying a Google Maps route.

Recently, Google rolled out a new test feature to a small number of users that showed them the amount of calories that they could burn by walking their chosen route instead of driving or taking public transit. In an attempt to make the caloric amounts more tangible, the feature also translated them into — get this — mini cupcakes.

A screenshot of Google Maps showing that 408 calories would translate into almost four mini cupcakesPhoto: Katie Notopoulos, Buzzfeed

It seems the company's intentions were pure in that it wanted to playfully encourage a bit of physical activity. However, it's clear that Google didn't take users that may struggle with disordered eating into account. Many individuals took to Twitter to voice their concerns, saying that the new feature made them feel shamed and judged for eating and could be an extremely harmful trigger for those battling eating disorders. The worst part: the feature wasn't something you opted into, and there was no way to turn it off.

https://twitter.com/sosaysm/status/919743903707824128

Some also noted that the fact that Google was measuring the calorie count in cupcakes, a food most often associated with women, meant it was contributing to the dangerous and unhealthy diet culture young girls and women often fall prey to.

https://twitter.com/TaylorLorenz/status/920092976478609408

As a result of all this, the the cupcake calorie counter didn't even last a whole 24 hours before it was pulled. I speculate that reception of this update would have been different had it been an optional thing users could toggle on or off by choice. As someone who has had a lot of experience with shame and self-hatred centered around eating and body image, I understand the constant pressure to obsessively count calories. Though these triggers may seem small and trivial to some — and oh boy, did they — to others they're a first step toward relapse.

As of right now Google hasn't commented on whether or not it's going to tweak the feature and reintroduce it at a later date, but it's looking like chances are slim.

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