You already know Google has an awesome calculator and conversion tools on its search page. A quicker way to get your answers is to just perform these calculations and conversions right in your browser’s search field — without ever having to hit enter for the results.
This may or may not be news to you, but it’s something we recently were reminded about, thanks to a prompt from Reddit user joemcflow. The secret sauce is Google’s predictive search technology, which suggests search results as you type. You’ll need to have Google as your main search engine and its suggestions enabled in your browser of choice (whether that’s Chrome, Firefox, IE or Safari). It’s usually on by default. (In Chrome, for example, the setting is under Privacy and worded as “Use a prediction service to help complete searches and URLs typed in the address bar.”)
Just start typing in whatever you want to convert or calculate in your browser’s search bar (or, if you’re using Chrome or Safari, right in the omnibox).
So what can you do with this?
- Maths. It looks like you can do any of the basic or advance maths that’s available on Google’s homepage (see a full list here). So you can enter “7% of 1543″ or “5-(2*7^3)+20*12″ or “ln(16)” and the drop-down suggestions will offer the answer.
- Unit conversions. Just enter a number and the measurement. For example, enter “50 feet” and Google will suggest the answer according to the measurement it thinks you’re trying to convert to. If you want a different answer, such as cups instead of litres when working with quarts, just add the equal sign and the unit type after. For example, “5 quarts = cups”.
- Temperature conversions. To convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit or vice versa, type in something like “78 c = f”. The “= f” or “= c” at the end is required for this to work.
Some conversions, however, don’t seem to work. I tried to get it to do currency conversions and time zone conversions, without luck. If in doubt, try to append ” = [other unit]” to the search; this worked for converting bytes to kilobytes as well as days into months. It also works for converting numbering systems (“64 = binary”)
It’s nice to know you can use your browser for magical, instant answers like this — without having to start your search on Google’s homepage or leave the page you’re currently on.