How to Use Google as a Universal Calculator

Google Search can be used to calculate just about anything

When you are on the go and you need a quick solution to a math problem, or just a quick conversion between units, Google has a built-in calculator feature that seemingly knows the answer to everything.  Google’s calculated results will work on mobile, desktop, and even tablet web browsers, hence the Universal title of this article.  Previously we took a look at just converting currency using Google and tracking UPS and FedEx packages using Google.  Today I thought I’d explore some of the other groovy things you can do with Google Search!


Calculate Download Time

Just about any ISP out there likes to advertise in Mbps (Megabits per second). We talked about why they do this in more detail in a previous post.  Anyhow, now you can figure out exactly how long it will take for you to download a certain sized file at any speed.  Keep in mind when dealing with most networking equipment and services, you can only realistically expect about 75% of the advertised speed, hence why I added the /.75 modifier to the end of the example shot below.

Note: This type of search is case-sensitive! Be sure to capitalize the appropriate letters!

calculate download time via google

Just for fun, here’s how long a 4GB (typical size for a DVD movie) would take to transfer on Intel’s new Lightingbolt technology.

calculate lightningbolt speed via google


Google Calculator for Unit Conversion

I really enjoy trying out authentic foreign recipes, but the problem is that most of them list ingredients in measurements that I don’t understand.  Google’s calculator function has this covered.  You can covert nearly any unit into another, all you have to do is Type it into Google Search with the proper way.

Use to or in as your connector, and generally just type a search with the following syntax:

unit to unit

Google calculator converts teaspoons

calculator converts meters to feet

google celsius to fahrenheit


Google Calculator For Complex Math

One of my favorite uses for the Google calendar is math.  Sure, everyone knows that Google can handle basic math; 1+1=2 and 612×324=198,288 and etc… Google calculator can also handle advanced math, and is evidence of just that.  The calculator enthusiast James Redin has developed a working user interface that is powered by Google’s calculator results and JavaScript.

Try out the xnumber Google Calculator interface

google complex math interface

google advanced math result


Global Time Clock

Figuring out the time difference between your location and somewhere else in the world can be complicated, but not for Google.  Type time followed by a country name and Google will give you the current time for that location.

instant time for japan

If you’d like to see time in a 24-hour format just use a Google domain for a country whose Standard is a 24-hour clock!  Pretty much anywhere in Europe will work, in the example below I used

use google 24 hour clock time


Google as a Dictionary

I use this quite frequently while writing out groovy posts.  When you’d like to see the definition of a word, just Type Define: followed by the word in question.  Google will display not just one definition, but multiple sources and multiple meanings of the word according to various websites.

google dictionary


Google Flight Tracking

Are you waiting on a flight, or checking on someone else’s?  Just type in the airline followed by the flight number.

Google Flight Tracking

Google has a lot more features to offer, though the rest of them aren’t really “calculator’esque” enough to make this post any longer. See the full list on Google’s official page.

How do you use Google as a calculator?  We’d love to hear any tips and tricks we forgot to mention!

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Programmable Thermostat Reviews

    August 7, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I work online. And sometimes it is hard to find simple calculations of measurements needed for my work. Google really has helped a lot. Especially when it comes time to do the big conversions.

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