Friday, December 9, 2011

Google Calculator

Do you have one of those fancy graphing calculators? Or know a student who is forced to take one of those classes where he/she is forced to buy one of those things? I've never understood that, by the way, because I don't think it truly helps to teach mathematical concepts but that's another discussion.

Anyway, did you catch that Google is now a graphing calculator? Yes, among many other things, you can now do your graphing from a simple Google search box. From Google's Inside Search Blog:
"Showing some love to math lovers"

Give it a shot, it's very cool. And don't feel as though you need to buy one of those fancy calculators.

It's not quite "there" yet, though. I was hoping to be able to tell you that this feature also worked on Android phones, so that there really would be no need for a fancy graphing calculator. Alas, no. Notice the wording near the end of the article: "This feature ... is available in modern browsers."

When I saw this, I wondered what a "modern browser" was. Nowadays people access the web via browsers on their phones and on tablets. So, first thing I did was try this on my phones. On my Droid X, with the stock Gingerbread browser, this graphing feature did not work. Entering a mathematical function (that plotted easily on my computer) into the Google search bar merely did a Google search, no plotting. So I tried on my Nexus S, running Ice Cream Sandwich, supposedly with a fancy new browser. And it didn't work, either. So, Ice Cream Sandwich apparently does not have a "modern browser" by Google's own definition. Which made me a little sad, given how much they are hyping it.

Anyway, the ability to graph mathematical functions from a the Google search bar is great news for nerds like me, even if it doesn't yet extend to phones.