Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Google has always been handy for answering quick mathematical questions, unit conversions, or currency conversions typed into the search box. You can now stash that graphing calculator of yours forever, because the crew in Mountain View added graphing displays to Google calculator features as well.

Type a function into the Google search box, such as cos(x), and at the top of the results page you’ll see that graph drawn out. There are Google Maps-like controls for panning and zooming around the graph. Multiple graphs can be drawn by separating the functions with commas. The screenshot above shows what you get when you put in four functions: the four graphs are drawn, overlapping each other, in Google’s trademark bright colors.

The x- and y-coordinates in the top right corner of the graph follow your mouse but lock the point to one along the line. That feature is best explained by simply trying it out.

A couple of computer science-y quirks remain. If you graph sin(x) and hold your mouse over the point that should be zero, such as pi, the y-coordinate displays as a really small number, such as 1.5364 x 10-5. If you ever need the exact value of a certain point in your function, you could always put that directly into the search box, such as sin(0), and just let the normal Calculator app work its magic.

According to “Google engineer and math lover” Adi Avidor, the graphing calculator supports a variety of functions. Specifically, trigonometric, exponential, logarithmic functions and all their compositions are included. The feature is available now in modern browsers.

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