Google vs. Live (Math as search string)

March 5, 2007 at 3:19 pm (Pointless Philosophy)

This is funny. Real funny. I don’t know who is to be blamed – Google or Live?

As most of you already know, both Google and Live are search engines and they are constantly evolving every day to serve better search results. One area that I really like about both of them is accepting “mathematical expressions” as search strings. In fact, they can also do conversion of units from one to another (like seconds to minutes)

But a friend of mine pointed me to some funny set of mis-interpretations of mathematical expressions as search input.

1. Search string = “2^4^2” says 2^4^2 = 65536 says 2^4^2 = 256

2. Let’s try to get 65536 out of each search engine

To get the value 65536 you need to enter 2^2^2^2^2 in Search
To get the same value in it is enough to enter one “^2” less = 2^2^2^2

After a little more research I figured out why this is happening – any guesses on what is causing this? any guesses on who is right or wrong here?



  1. arunotorious said,

    this is simple buddy!!
    an expression with exponents and no brackets is treated differently in Google and Live…meaning
    x^x^x^x is treated as (x^(x^(x^x))) in Google
    x^x^x^x is treated as (((x^x)^x)^x) in Live

    but if you try providing the proper brackets then it should behave the same in both!
    for example:
    (2^(4^2)) = 65536 is same in both Google and Live
    ((2^4)^2) = 256 is same in both Google and Live

    And there is no order of evaluation that is the standard when the operation is the same but the brackets are not provided.

  2. Balaji said,

    Yeah right… 2 to the power 8 by google
    and 2 to the power 4 and 16 to the power 2 by live… :)

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