06 February 2010

How to Use Google's Hidden Calculator



Calculate, Measure, Convert, and More

Not only can you search the Web with Google, you can use it as a calculator. Google's calculator is more than an ordinary number cruncher. It can calculate both basic and advanced math problems, and it can convert measurements as it calculates. You don't even need to restrict yourself to numbers. Google can understand many words and abbreviations and evaluate those expressions, too.
Google's calculator was designed to solve problems without a lot of math syntax, so you may occasionally find calculator results when you didn't even realize you were searching for the answer to a math equation.

To use Google's calculator, simply to go to Google's search engine and type in whatever you'd like to be calculated. For instance, you could type:

and Google will return the result 3+3=6. You can also type in words and get results. Type in
three plus three
and Google will return the result three plus three=six.
You know your results are from Google's calculator when you see the picture of the calculator to the left of the result.

Complex Math

Google can calculate more complex problems such as two to the twentieth power,

the square root of 287,
or the sine of 30 degrees.
sine(30 degrees)
You can even find the number of possible groups in a set. For instance,
24 choose 7
finds the number of possible choices of 7 items from a group of 24 items.
Convert and Measure

Google can calculate and convert many common measurements, so you could find out how many ounces are in a cup.

oz in a cup
Google's results reveal that 1 US cup = 8 US fluid ounces. You can use this to convert just about any measurement to any other compatible measurement.
12 parsecs in feet
[blockquote shade= yes]37 degrees kelvin in Fahrenheit
You can also calculate and convert in one step. Find out how many ounces you have when you have 28 times two cups.

28*2 cups in oz
Google says that 28 * 2 US cups = 448 US fluid ounces. Remember, because this is a computer based calculator, you must multiply with the * symbol, not an X.
Google recognizes most common measurements, including weight, distance, time, mass, energy, and monetary currency.

Math Syntax

Google's calculator is designed to calculate problems without a lot of complicated math formatting, but sometimes it's easier and more accurate to use some math syntax. For instance, if you want to evaluate an equation that looks like a phone number,

Google will probably confuse this with its hidden phonebook. You can force Google to evaluate an expression by using an equal sign.
This only works for problems that are mathematically possible to resolve. You can't divide by zero with or without an equal sign.
You can force parts of an equation to be resolved before other parts by enclosing them in parenthesis.

Some other math syntax Google recognizes:

+ for addition
- for subtraction
* for multiplication
/ for division
^ for exponential (x to the power of y)
% for modulo (to find the remainder after division)
choose X choose Y fines the number of possible subset groups of Y out of the set of X.
th root of creates the nth root of a number
% of finds percentages X % of Y finds X percent of Y.
sqrt finds the square root of the number that follows
ln logarithm base e
log logarithm base 10
lg logarithm base 2
! factorial - This must follow the number you wish to factor.
If you appreciate a more visual interface, you can use Soople's Advanced Calculator, which uses Google's engine to calculate.

Google's calculator isn't completely documented, so it may take some experimenting to find all of the hidden features.

The next time you find yourself wondering how much five liters is in gallons, rather than searching for a Web site for conversion, just use Google's hidden calculator.


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