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Google Software Technology

Google Maps Ditches Walking Calorie Counter After Backlash (engadget.com) 364

Following online backlash, Google is removing a planned feature in Maps that shows you how many calories you'd burn when in walking mode. Google's attempt to promote a healthy lifestyle caused a number of people to lambast the feature on Twitter, claiming it would "shame" and even "trigger" those with eating disorders. Engadget reports: Taking note of the negative reaction, Google is now dumping the experiment. It confirmed to Engadget that the update was briefly tested on iOS, and has been abandoned based on user feedback. As The Hill's Taylor Lorenz noted in her tweets, there was no way to turn off the feature. Lorenz also claimed that using pink cupcakes as the unit of measurement was "lowkey aimed at women." Others pointed out that Maps wasn't the appropriate place for the update. After all, there are plenty of fitness and calorie counting apps that keep track of your activity and consumption -- again emphasizing how misplaced the feature was.
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Google Maps Ditches Walking Calorie Counter After Backlash

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  • by hondo77 ( 324058 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @05:15PM (#55386217) Homepage
    ...for the Culture of Outrage!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @05:21PM (#55386265)

      I'm outraged that they're implying pink cupcakes are only for women. I love all cupcakes equally.

    • by EEPROMS ( 889169 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @05:25PM (#55386289)
      or Google bows to the "everything offends me crowd" Seriously people grow the f**k up, the universe doesn't care about your feelings and if you are fat deal with it. FYI I also love food and I am in a constant battle with my body weight but I have learned "to control my urges".
      • by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @05:51PM (#55386433) Journal

        the universe doesn't care about your feelings

        True. But if I'm trying to sell you something? I sure as hell care about your feelings--at least until the check clears.

        Remember, Google is in it for the marketshare. They don't make money off of Maps, they make money keeping track of to where you ask directions and using that information for marketing purposes. "Oh, look, you go to this grocery store? Maybe you'd be interested in some coupons..."

      • And I demand that we stop talking about anything.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pseudofrog ( 570061 )
      A handful of people complained about the feature on Twitter. There was no real outrage, just a few people who were annoyed you can't turn it off. Engadget is being incredibly dishonest here by throwing red meat to the "omg pc culture is ruining everything" crowd.
      • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @06:59PM (#55386827) Homepage
        But PC culture *is* ruining everything. It's not some kind of false conclusion. Remember when that scientist, celebrating the achievement of a lifetime, landing a space probe on a fucking COMET, was forced to tearfully apologize the next day for his choice of shirt?
        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          PC culture only ruins what people are willing to allow it to ruin. There is absolutely nothing stopping you from maning the fuck up and telling them to fuck off, except your own fears. PC culture, meh, who gives a fuck.

          • It's not "allowed to ruin" anything when you can be fired from your job and be subject to potential civil and even criminal penalties. Companies like Google can ruin your business by deliberately putting your site on page 138 of search results. Type "James Damore" into Google's homepage and watch autosuggest totally fail to suggest anything. Ignoring PC culture will not make it go away.
            • Type "James Damore" into Google's homepage and watch autosuggest totally fail to suggest anything.

              Just did (well, using the search box widget). "James dam" suggested "James Damore". "James Damore " suggested "James Damore memo" first with letter, google, manifesto, linkedin, twitter, reddit all appearing high up.

              Hitting search on "james damore" yields his linkedin page as the first proper link.

              IOW you're high on your own outrage (again) and are, as usual, utterly full of shit.

              • OK well they've changed it then. During the scandal you couldn't get Google to suggest anything. Obviously they blacklisted the term. Oh wait, I said on Google's homepage, don't know if that's different.
        • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

          But PC culture *is* ruining everything.

          No. It's a tool for manipulating people. Your post (and most of those to this story) are examples of how that tool works in action.

    • Chalk Up Another Victory... for the Culture of Outrage!

      I'd call this "marketing psychology" more than "caving to outrage". For Google, users are both their customers and their product. If any part of their service potentially makes people feel bad (shamed, judged, or, god forbid, triggered), there's a chance that some percentage of them will choose a different service next time, which means less data for them to sell. I'd call this "marketing psychology" more than "caving to outrage".

      • See if you can figure out which sentence I accidentally put in there twice. See if you can figure out which sentence I accidentally put in there twice.
    • If this offends you, it's time to get a health coach. A good one doesn't (necessarily) cost that much, and can be a tremendous help in losing weight. This is especially true for people who have emotional issues around food and get offended by it. This is not easy to do alone.
  • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @05:18PM (#55386249)

    >Google's attempt to promote a healthy lifestyle caused a number of people to lambast the feature on Twitter, claiming it would "shame" and even "trigger" those with eating disorders.

    Those people are poisoning our society. They need to be ostracized and allowed to wallow in whatever ghetto they manage to find refuge in.

    • Heh. I wonder when these people are going to take notice that Apple... having realized that the market for a $18K status symbol that will, like all technology, be a obsolete in three years, is fairly limited... has refocused the Watch, and its accompanying marketing, almost entirely on health and fitness.

      The apoplectic fits whenever one of them sees that little black square on everyones' wrist will be fun to watch.

  • wtf? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @05:20PM (#55386253)

    How can this feature be added back in? I'd find it handy.
    What's wrong with encouraging people to walk instead of drive?
    Where else could you put such a feature, apart from Maps? Adding navigation to a fitness app would be even worse.
    What's wrong with pink cupcakes? Raspberry icing is awesome. How dare women try to claim it for themselves.

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      I'd go so far as to suggest that pink cupcakes are the definitive colour. I tend not to eat cupcakes at all, but if I do I'm well up for one with delicate baby pink icing on it.

      For walking maps I've found this site to be excellent in the UK:
      https://www.mapometer.com// [mapometer.com]

      Other regions may vary.

    • How can this feature be added back in? I'd find it handy.

      That's what always pisses me off about these morally outraged complainers, they project their own biases and don't give a crap that there are other people who find the feature useful.

      Some years ago one of the dating sites (match.com?) added "obese" to their list of body types. Some people were all offended that fatties were going to be excluded from dating now that the site allowed them to be identified. These people apparently only considered the possibility that large people would be discriminated agai

      • These people apparently only considered the possibility that large people would be discriminated against. It never occurred to their prejudiced little minds that some people are interested in seeking bigger people to date.

        They know damned well that some people are interested in that. However, the feature is way more likely to be used first to exclude fat people, second to find fat people to fetishize and treat like a fat fuck doll, and only third because someone just happens to prefer fat people.

        However, it's also a truth in advertising feature, and if nobody is forcing you to accurately select your body type, no one is being harmed against their will. So waaaaah. Which, frankly, is how most of these discussions should go.

    • Yeah man, I think if the bus is late and it tells me it's a 25 min walk and I can burn some cal, maybe I'd think, hell why don't I just walk?

      There was a cardio app that was abondoned by the developers that used to be really good called Cardio Trainer and at the end of your workout they's show you the calories represented as different things, for example 5 apples, 2 oranges, 1 cupcake. It would randomly pick one that matched the amount.

      I'd like if Google maps told me I'd burn a pint of beer by walking home f

  • by Pfhorrest ( 545131 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @05:20PM (#55386255) Homepage Journal

    As a fat person myself, how is it offensive to be informed that you are burning calories by doing something? It's not like someone's telling you that you should go for a walk to burn calories because you really need it. They're telling you "hey, I noticed you're out on a walk, did you know that that's burning calories? good for you!"

    • There's an idea (that seems mostly promulgated by overweight people) that being obese is not a health issue. Anything implying that you might want to not be overweight might therefore be construed as a judgement that obesity is a bad thing. For a humorous example of these people, head over to YouTube and search on "fat acceptance".
    • Don't you understand? Having an eating disorder or being overweight, means you must also have broken legs. How are you condoning Google's insensitive and mean feature that makes fun of the fact that you don't have legs? Wait, what that? You have legs and they work just fine? You can walk? Uh...carry on then...
  • Two Options: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kaatochacha ( 651922 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @05:21PM (#55386263)

    1) change your possibly useful feature to include the ability to turn it off, modify the icon, allow customization.
    2) Demand, outraged, it be removed.

    Guess which one prevailed.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Option 3: Ignore the casually outraged minority.

    • 1) change your possibly useful feature to include the ability to turn it off, modify the icon, allow customization. 2) Demand, outraged, it be removed.

      Guess which one prevailed.

      You don't know which one prevailed. My guess is that it will be #1.

      Google teams generally operate on a very rapid release cycle, many with weekly releases. How do you develop a feature that takes several weeks (or months!) when your team releases weekly? What you don't do is branch the code and work on your branch for a long time, either constantly rebasing or trying to do a big merge at the end. That way lies madness. And bugs. Lots and lots of bugs.

      Instead, you flag-protect your feature. As much as po

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A number of people lambasted the feature on Twitter, claiming it would "shame" and even "trigger" those with eating disorders.

    Really?

    Really?

    Lorenz also claimed that using pink cupcakes as the unit of measurement was "lowkey aimed at women."

    That would be a valid point (sort of) if it were true. It isn't. The article shows screenshots: it just shows a calorie count.

    That being said, it's still likely a useless feature. People are wildly different, and how many calories an individual burns is going to depend on their weight, posture, walking gait, and who knows what other variables. Hell, even the current temperature and wind are probably enough to make the calorie counts completely wrong.

    Remove it because it's going to be mostly me

  • a 325 pound murderer [pennlive.com] is a bad thing to do.

  • else in the world where real help is needed?

  • Not On My Google Maps

  • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @05:31PM (#55386329)
    For real, wanting to go somewhere and wanting to get exercise are two completely different things. It's rarely overlapped where I don't care how long it'd take to get there so I'll burn some calories on foot. So it is completely useless and somewhat insulting, especially to people like me with mobility issues when it comes to walking. BUT screw those in-denial fat ass whiners who can't handle being told they're disgustingly unhealthy and need to do something about it. If they can't handle that simple fact, let alone taking steps to do something about it, that's THEIR own mental illness. DO NOT cater to those types.
    • As The Hill's Taylor Lorenz noted in her tweets, there was no way to turn off the feature. Lorenz also claimed that using pink cupcakes as the unit of measurement was "lowkey aimed at women."

      As a man who will eat the shit out of any pink cupcake that is dropped in front of him, I am highly offended by Lorenz's tweet. Lorenz is racist against men and sexist against pink! Boo!
    • If you go to the gym I agree. If you don't feel the urgent need to drive 20m to your mailbox then no, exercise and the need to go somewhere overlap.

      • To me, being human is all about using your body, and I find it idiotic to try and separate "exercise" from other forms of being. I do catch a ride if it's going to be more than a few miles, and I do certain exercises that are not immediately useful besides maintaining a healthy body. Still, I have a hard time understanding people who drive a car to a gym, and then proceed to run on a treadmill or something. When I was in college, I used to run to the gym and back again.
  • Yeay Twitter (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bender Unit 22 ( 216955 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @05:38PM (#55386365) Journal

    For a happier life, ignore everything written on Twitter.

  • By anything that remembers me I'm a obese sob.

    From commercials depicting thin people, thin people passing by in the street. People doing biking, walking, etc. anything that doesn't glorify eating in excess and being a obese sob.

    Oh, and I do get PTSD by the mere sight of sports stores and fitness centers. Check your body privilege!

    Should I be institutionalized or at least cease being such a whinny little brat? NO! the whole world must cater to my fragile special snowflake ego, by avoiding any triggeri
  • I don't know which is worse: 1. Mentally unstable "people" who claimed this is an issue. 2. Mentally unstable "people" at Google who backed off on the feature.
  • Your damn right, as a whiskey drinkin, cigar smokin, red meat eattin MAUN! I have never in my life ate a pink cupcake!

    really wtf, why are pink cupcakes "aimed at women", just cause you happen to be a woman and desire a pink cupcake on your guilt walk? Well guess what, I have pink cupcakes, I am going to enjoy one, its strawberry with a little ribbon of rasberry jam in the middle, and you madam are not allowed to have one...

    better?

    • many men, both straight and gay, as well as many other individuals across the gender spectrum, like the colour pink; for her to suggest this is aimed at women is sexist and insensitive.

  • I really have no more words....Just stupid. Might as well call a pedometer or smart watch a fat shaming product.
  • by thegreatbob ( 693104 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @06:24PM (#55386641) Journal
    Rather than just taking a shit on another seemingly useful feature, why not make it opt-in instead? The weenies that will complain about its mere existence can be ignored with extreme prejudice.
    • It was opt-in! They're the ones that opted to use Google Maps. The outraged people could have simply switched to Yahoo's or Apple's service.
      • Google maps employs ex-Apple designers, options are bad and need to be removed in favor of a least common denominator, one size fits all solution.
    • Rather than just taking a shit on another seemingly useful feature, why not make it opt-in instead? The weenies that will complain about its mere existence can be ignored with extreme prejudice.

      I answered that here [slashdot.org].

  • C'mon. This wasn't hurting anyone. I'm a 50+ yo lady who has about another 15 pounds to go on my own weight loss quest. I would love to have this feature in Google Maps. It's a great motivation. I love cupcakes but seriously, triggering from a cartoon icon? Have just a little backbone and self control!
  • Wait, What? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by buss_error ( 142273 )

    I'm fat. I know I'm fat. Having someone say to me "You're FAT!" may be uncouth and rude, but it's true.

    And as I stated, it's something I am already aware of, thank you, Capt. Obvious.

  • Those fat fat fatties are excellent consumers, leave them alone!
  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @08:16PM (#55387157)

    >> it would "shame" and even "trigger" those with eating disorders.

    Oh no! We must shelter those delicate little flowers from facts and truthful information!

    • in a store, ever have to pass one of those land whales that almost brush both sides of the aisle? and yes, women are more likely then men to be obese, so shaming them with pink cupcakes or anything else stereotypically feminine is fine. quit stuffing yer face, ya cows!

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        >> women are more likely then men to be obese

        Intuitively it seems right, but please cite references.

  • If you can ride in a car while simulating walking, can you drive them nuts?
  • Perhaps we should just ban pink and blue - fuck it, let's ban all colours (an even colors). Let the whingers wear shades of grey and be miserable.

  • by Reverend Green ( 4973045 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2017 @01:06AM (#55388097)

    Is it not delightful to see baizou turn on their own kind and tear one another to shreds?

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2017 @02:50AM (#55388321)
    The screenshots in linked to the article [twitter.com] shows that the complainer looked up driving directions for somewhere 0.7 miles away. That's a little under 1,000 steps. Unless there is some good reason (taking lots of luggage, rough neighbourhood, person is disabled) surely most people would walk that? And if there is a good reason why would anyone see it as an insult?
  • What? Is Lorenz saying pink cupcakes are only for women? Is she saying pink is a girl color only? Or that cupcakes are only for girls? I am outraged at this sexist remark. I am a middle aged man that loves cupcakes of all colors, especially the pink ones.

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