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Google has rolled out new updates to its search engine and Lens tool, offering users the ability to tackle complex subjects such as geometry, physics, trigonometry, and calculus with ease.
With this update, you can simply type an equation into the search bar or use Lens to snap a photo, and Google will provide you with the correct answer and a step-by-step explanation. This feature also extends to word problems, making it an invaluable tool for students and learners. For instance, you can use it to grasp high school physics concepts like finding the average acceleration using the equation “vf = vi + at.”
To access the math solver feature, you can type “[math solver]” directly into the search bar. However, this function is currently available only on desktop and will be available on mobile by the end of the year, as confirmed by the company.
Another significant addition is the geometry solver. Recognizing the importance of visualization in solving geometry problems, Lens can now explain both the visual and text components of these problems. Though it is important to note that Lens is currently limited to “certain triangle problems.”
Robert Wong, Google’s product lead, provided further clarification, explaining that the geometry solver can perform tasks such as finding the area of a triangle using A = 1/2 x height x base or Heron’s formula, calculating the perimeter of a triangle, applying the “Isosceles Triangle Theorem” to determine an unknown side length or angle, and using the “Pythagorean Theorem” to figure out side lengths in right triangles. Wong stated, “For our geometry experience, we wanted to focus on a subset of problems that could have a large impact before eventually expanding to cover a more diverse range of geometry problems.”
To power these problem-solving features, Google has harnessed its Multitask Unified Model (MUM), a sophisticated system that understands search queries across various formats, including text, images, and videos. Wong explained, “Language and query understanding are complex challenges that require sophisticated systems to ensure we’re producing the most helpful results — especially in cases where our systems are looking at information in multiple different formats.”
While Google declined to share specific accuracy rate numbers, Wong assured that “Our testing shows the accuracy rate is very high.”
In addition to these problem-solving features, Google has introduced new 3D models on Search. These models offer interactive diagrams related to nearly 1,000 topics, including biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and more. These models, first introduced in 2021, have expanded to include over 200 chemistry, biology, physics, and anatomy concepts.
Google continues to be a valuable resource for learning, with features like “practice problems” for subjects like math, chemistry, and physics, as well as the recent introduction of an English tutoring tool that prompts users to speak their answers using provided vocabulary words.