Google is removing an experimental calorie estimator from its Maps iOS app, following criticism from users that the feature amounted to unsolicited health advice and could do more harm than good (via TechCrunch).
The feature began rolling out to some users last week and shows an estimate of the calories that would be burned if a selected walking route was taken.
The calorie estimator not only displayed the potential number of calories burned, but also how many “mini cupcakes” they were worth. “The average person burns 90 calories by walking 1 mile,” the app states. “To help put that into perspective, we’ve estimated how many desserts your walk would burn. One mini cupcake is around 110 calories.”
Some users reportedly welcomed the feature, but it sounds as if a good proportion of them didn’t, as Google has taken the decision to roll it back “based on strong user feedback”.
Some user criticism related to an inability to disable the feature, while others questioned its usefulness, given that rates of calorie burn vary widely from person to person, and no context is given about how the estimate is calculated.
Critics also noted that an excessive preoccupation with calorie counting is a symptom of anorexia and other eating disorders, therefore getting calorie estimates every time a route is looked up could have a negative impact on sufferers.
Google Maps will remove a widely criticized experimental iOS feature that estimated how many calories its users could potentially burn by walking a route. A Google rep told TechCrunch that the decision was “based on strong user feedback” and the calorie estimator will no longer appear in Google Maps for iOS starting this evening. Read More
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Google updated the Google Maps app for iOS on Wednesday and brought a useful measurement feature to iPhone and iPad that has been available on the Maps web interface for some time.
Maps apps are usually the first port of call for finding out how far away somewhere is and how long it will take to get there via car, public transport, or walking, but these directions rarely reveal the actual distance between points and places on the map “as the crow flies”.
With Google’s new “measure distance” feature on iOS, however, it’s possible to calculate the actual geographical distance between two or more points on the map. For example, it’s now possible to measure the mileage in a straight line between two cities.
To measure a distance between two or more points in Google Maps, touch and hold anywhere on the map to make a red pin appear, and tap the name of the place at the bottom of the screen.
Now scroll down and choose “Measure distance”, and move the map so that the black circle (or crosshairs) is on the next point you want to add. Then simply tap the blue “Add point” button.
You can continue to add as many points as you want, and the cumulative distance in miles or kilometers will update accordingly in the bottom left. To remove the last point you added, tap the Undo arrow in the top right. And to clear all the points, tap the three dots at the top right and select Clear.
Google today announced its “parking difficulty” indicator in Google Maps for iOS and Android will now appear in 25 additional cities around the world. The feature was previously available in the United States only.
The simple feature shows a “P” icon with a difficulty level such as “moderate” or “limited,” based on how easy it will be to find parking at the destination entered. The feature is based on historical parking data and machine learning.
The following cities support the feature starting today:
Rio de Janeiro
Google Maps is available for free on the App Store [Direct Link] for iPhone and iPad.
"Never mind it. Never mind," I cursed, looking down on the poorly formed monstrosity that gazed back at me with a singular pulsing eye. No, not at me — through me. This was not my trusty Google Assistant, with whom I shared a deep logistical and day…