I use Google as my calculator and conversion utility all of the time, and I’m sure most of you are the same way. The Google Search box can handle everything from simple math, to unit conversions, and even currency conversions. Examples of what Google can calculate include:

- 1 a.u./c
- 56*78
- 1.21 GW / 88 mph
- e^(i pi)+1
- 100 miles in kilometers
- sine(30 degrees)
- G*(6e24 kg)/(4000 miles)^2
- 0x7d3 in roman numerals
- 0b1100101*0b1001

On my Mac I don’t use very many widgets, well, that’s an understatement. I haven’t even opened the widget Dashboard in months. When I stumbled across Gooculator, however, that all changed. It’s so easy and works so well that I instantly started using it for all my calculator needs. This rekindled my respect for how useful Dashboard widgets actually can be.

How does it work? Gooculator is essentially one big text box. You type in a conversion on one line, for example “150 pounds in milligrams”, and it will output the answer on the next line. I know what you’re wondering… why would I use this over the Google site? Because Gooculator can let you chain calculations together. Allow me to explain.

Imagine you did a calculation like this:

`10 + 30 - 20 `

*<enter>*

Gooculator will output the answer, and the screen should look like this:

`10 + 30 - 20`

= 20

Remember what I said about this being one big text box? You can actually move your cursor back up to the “= 20″ line, and append on to it another calculation:

`10 + 30 - 20`

= 20 / 4 *<enter>*

The widget will be smart enough to take the end result from the last calculation (20) and divide it by 4 providing the correct answer of 5. This is obviously an oversimplified equation, but I’m sure you can imagine how useful this can be if you’re working with converting between several units and performing mathematical operations on them.

After using this for a little bit I noticed that I had a long history of calculations, and was wondering how I clear them out. Duh, it goes back to this being a big text box… just highlight everything and hit the backspace key! In that regard it is also extremely easy to copy everything out of the widget and paste it into some notes if you ever wanted to save your calculation trail for later on.

Gooculator Homepage (Mac only – Dashboard widget; Freeware)