The next time you perform a calculation in Google's search box, be prepared for a surprise.
Google launched a new feature that displays a scientific calculator as well as the results of your calculation. Previously, the search engine displayed the calculation and its answer. Microsoft's Bing still performs that way.
Better yet, you can use Google's voice search feature--found in mobile versions of the search engine and in its Chrome web browser--to input calculations without touching your keyboard. That's really handy if you're trying to calculate something like "the square root of Pi times three."
On the desktop, the voice feature only works in Chrome. Firefox users will have to type in their calculations, although the scientific calculator will appear after they do.
The calculator has a full complement of scientific functions, including sin, cos, tan, log, exponential calculation, and square roots. Mobile users may have to view the calculator in landscape mode to see all the functions.
The scientific calculator joins Google's graphing calculator, also accessible from the search bar, which was introduced more than a year ago, to the delight of math geeks everywhere.
Now that Google has integrated a scientific calculator into search, maybe it should consider introducing a business calculator, as well. That type of calculator would appeal to a wider audience and could be chosen as an alternative to the scientific calculator through a settings option.