Google may be the last calculator you’ll ever need

Nick Mediati
28 January, 2014
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Many of us rely on Google to find things on the internet. But what you may not know is that the Google search bar also makes a heck of a calculator – useful if you’re like me and still have to rely on your fingers to perform basic maths. But it can do more than that: it can tell you how many litres are in 3.9 gallons or the currency exchange rates between the Euro and the Yen.

Calculate those numbers

Type in any basic maths equation into a Google search to get the result. It even supports many of the advanced functions that you’d find on a scientific calculator, such as sine, cosine, tangent, exponents and factorials. You can even switch between using radians and degrees.

As a bonus, you can tell it what to calculate using plain English instead of mathematical symbols, so you can just type ‘square root of 28′ instead having to hunt down the √ symbol. (The answer is 5.29150262213, in case you were wondering.)

basic math

Try this. After running a query, you can actually use the calculator that appears on the results page. That way, if you want to make a calculation that builds off the answer, you can without having to enter another search term.

If you want to bring up the calculator without entering an equation first, just type ‘calculator’ into Google’s search box and press Search.

Plot those graphs

graph a heart

Working on your precalculus homework but don’t have your TI-85 handy? Punch the equation you want to graph into a Google search to plot the graph you need. If it’s not working, try typing ‘graph’ before the equation.

Try this. Graph sqrt(1-(abs(x)-1)^2), arccos(1-abs(x))-π to get the heart you see above. Now zoom out, take a screenshot and email it to your significant other. Boom: an instant nerdy Valentine’s Day e-card.

Also, try graphing in three dimensions using an equation with two variables such as x*sin(y).

Convert those units


Do you remember your conversion factors from 10th grade science? Don’t feel bad, neither do I. But thanks to the magic of the internet, you don’t need to. Type your query into Google and it’ll give you the answer you’re looking for. The unit converter works with almost any unit of measure imaginable, too, from distance to mass to time and just about anything in between.

Try this. Search for ’1 light year to Olympic triathalons’ and see what you get.

The unit converter will also let you convert from our standard base-10 number system (0 through 9) to roman numerals, hexadecimal, octal or binary systems. Now go figure out what 0b11111000000 is in base-10.

In fact, go ahead, find a unit of measure it doesn’t support. I dare you.

Exchange those rates

exchange rates

By the same token, Google will also let you convert monetary units, too. Enter a query like ’12 US dollars to Yen’ and Google will spit out the current exchange rate, plus a historic trend-line graph so you can see how the exchange rates have changed over time. Cool! It supports dozens of world currencies, but so far, not Bitcoin.

by Nick Mediati, TechHive

One Comment

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  1. Vulch says:

    Wow I never knew that. Great simple tip.

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