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Google calculates (more visibly)

It used to be I could type any equation into a Google Search box and right below I’d see the answer. (That is, if I could figure out how to express the equation in my search box.)  You now get way more than your result.  And you get some support for expressing your math problem.

Now, following a mathy-type search, along with your answer, Google also displays a 34-button scientific calculator.

Buttons represent numbers, operations, square root, pi, exponents, and those other little functions (sin, cos, tan, log) I no longer remember from trig, but I know are dear to the hearts of our math and science friends.

It also magically pops up if you start typing calculator.

And yes, there’s more.

If you are using Google mobile or doing math in Chrome, you can express your equation and pop up the calculator using voice search.

The new scientific calculator will quickly become a classroom tool for use individually or for demonstration on interactive whiteboards.  I could also see it being used as a handy tool in screencasting presentations.

And it will likely rescue all those kiddos who cannot afford, lose, or forget to bring their scientific calculator to class.

Though Google introduced a graphing calculator feature last year, this one is likely to be of more general use for math and science students everywhere.

And, of course, Wolfram|Alpha is a more serious contender for those seeking regular, serious computational experiences!  I just don’t think you can see the calculators.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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