Playing with the Google calculator

Posted by: Rea Maor In: Internet and SEO - Thursday, June 28th, 2007

A little-known fact about Google is the calculator feature. Google can recognize a mathematical expression when it is typed into the search box and will give you the answer as a search result!

We have the standard + – * / four-function which all add, subtract, multiply, and divide in the usual way. That is, until you try being a smart-aleck and ask it to divide by zero, in which case Google is a smart-aleck right back at you and searches the web for your equation.

x**y yields x to the y power. 10**100 is a google (a one with 100 zeros after it), so now you can calculate a google on Google!

% is modulus. Yawn. You know, 256 modulo 2 = 0 and so on.

x choose y…now this is interesting. This returns how many ways there are to choose y items from the set x. This is famous for being a moderately difficult operation to even express, let alone solve. How many ways are there to draw five cards from a deck of fifty-two, you ask? 2,598,960! Now with four ordered royals in a game of draw poker, the exact odds of getting an ordered royal on the first deal are 4/2,598,960, or 1 in 649,740. And to think some of us, when we were just learning programming, stayed up all night writing a program to solve this!

Nth root of X…self-explanatory. 2nd root of 2 is still 1.41421356, with decimals truncated to the 9th place.

You math geeks will be happy to know they also have their sqrt(x) function, and sin(x), log(x), arc(x), parenthesis ordering, and all the trimmings.

And there is the ever-handy “!” function, as in 6! = 720 (if you don’t know, this is a factorial equation; the product of all whole numbers from one to the value given). Interesting to note that the highest value of x! which Google will compute is a mere 170! Anything higher than that returns a search. Bah! And Google runs on Linux…

Common constant values are supported. A simple “c=” gets you the speed of light. pi=3.14159265 and that’s it! You could memorize it that far.

Finally, it has unit conversion. convert 43 Celsius to Fahrenheit, for instance, will give the answer 109.4 degrees, so you can communicate to your American friends how bloody hot it is where you are.

It doesn’t get any more trivial than this, does it?


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5 Responses to “Playing with the Google calculator”

  1. NTICompass Says:

    Try typing in “the answer to life the universe and everything” into Google 😛

  2. Peter Says:

    “[…] Interesting to note that the highest value of x! which Google will compute is a mere 170! Anything higher than that returns a search. Bah! […]”

    Well, try this cool one… 😎
    http://www.luschny.de/math/factorial/fffcalc.html

  3. randy Says:

    Try typing in “400 days in fortnights”. Or “300 ounces in drams”.

    Google Knows All.

  4. Rea Maor Says:

    Wow, thats pretty cool.. i didnt even knew about some of these features.

  5. Russell Says:

    actually google does do higher factorials than 170. 170.62437! for example is stll valid. just not 171!

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