When my oldest daughter started high school last year I had to buy a calculator for her. It wasn’t my idea, it was mandated by the school district. If Google had in place what it has today, I would’ve saved some cash and probably made my daughter more efficient (since she has to lug yet another ‘losable’ device around with her).
Yesterday, Google announced that it offers a 34 button scientific calculator that is voice enabled to its search when people are looking to do some “cipherin'”. Take a look for yourself
The full functionality shows up on a smartphone if you search in landscape mode as well. TechCrunch tells a bit more about the voice capabilities
This calculator even works with Desktop Voice Search. Simply click the little mic icon and state the equation; it works with both “what is the square root of 30?” and “square root of 30.” Or, to launch the calculator itself, say “calculator”. It seems to stumble on long, complex equations (or maybe I’m saying them wrong), but in the right situation, this voice-powered calculator could be rather valuable.
For all of the yammering about how Google screws up this and that and how they can’t get social right etc it’s important to note the little things it does that can make life much easier for folks. Oh, and it does most of it for free.
Google hate all you want but remember where its bread is buttered and that is search. As the specter of a third search competitor (Yahoo minus Bing anyone?) looms as a possibility, I would suspect that Google will be doing more and more enhancements moving forward that will give us some ‘aha moments’ like this ability to do simple or complex math wherever and whenever.