Google Geeks Out With Currency - John Battelle's Search Blog

# Google Geeks Out With Currency

By - July 08, 2005

It’s Friday, so I can tell you this random search story. In the post below about Paul, I made an offhand remark about social networks being useful for one thing, getting laid. I then noticed that Paul was, in fact, wearing a lei in his Yahoo 360 picture. I decided to note the joke in an updated post. But I was not sure how to spell “lei” and furthermore, how to turn it into a verb (I settled on “lei’d”). In any case, to check the spelling of “lei” I plugged it into my Firefox Google toolbar. It confirmed the spelling, but also did a currency conversion for me, which is a new feature at Google. Turns out, the lei is unit of Romanian currency (though yahoo says it’s a “leu”).

But only Google would do a conversion that looks like this:

Happy Friday.

## 11 thoughts on “Google Geeks Out With Currency”

1. Jack DeNeut says:

One is singular (“leu”) and one is plural (“lei”). Google is wrong here: you can’t have one lei any more than you can have one dollars.

2. deej says:

fyi, ask jeeves and yahoo have had that currency feature for years.

3. musicgeek says:

“lei lei-d lei” think Clapton not Google, fer chrissake, it’s the weekend.

cheers.

4. taheny says:

On July 1, calculating the leu/lei was made much easier as Romania has taken 4 zeros off and introduced the New Lei/Leu. I’m surprised Google don’t already have both versions in their calculation.

5. Since I’m a usability geek, not a math geek, I feel compelled to point out that you should never use this notation, except on websites targeted at scientists or engineers.

There’s probably less than 10% of the population who understand 10^5 and even fewer who can perform a correct computation with negative powers of ten like 10^-5

The preferred notation on a site targeted at the general public is

1000 Romanian lei = 0.0335447 U.S. dollars

(You don’t want to use 0.0000335447 either, because people will miscount the zeros.)

Finally, it’s uncallled-for precision to provide six significant digits in the conversion factor. Poeple who use a search engine for currency data are not going to be in the business of doing billion-dollar transfers. They’ll want to estimate the cost of a hotel room, for which two significant digits will be plenty (and easier to deal with when doing the math at home).

6. kenjimori says:

Hello,

My name is Kenji Mori. I am from Japan.
Thank you for introducing the
nteresting feature!

It worked in http://www.google.co.jp as well:
That is, “25 USD IN JP” gave
“25 U.S. dollars = 2 800.25135 Japanese yen”

Excellent!

However, when I entered the same
in my NTT-docomo mobile google search of jp,
it did not give a currency conversion, even.

How’s that? The same in the US?

7. fred says:

Romanian Money from Outer-Spaaaaaaaaace!!!

http://www.romaniandolls.com/folk/08diverse/2000.jpg

8. Zoli says:

The interface is really simple, one might almost think there’s no need to remember syntax rules … except when I wanted to check how hot the oncoming heatwave will be in metric:
105f c results in
(105 degrees Fahrenheit) * the speed of light = 9.40465596 Ãƒâ€

9. Boss Hogg says:

John, in Hazzard county people don’t need no social networkin to get lays. The mobile home maddams don’t need no internet.

JD out.

10. Fenton says:

Yeah the currency thing is cool. After reading the features page on google, I realized I don’t need any other search engine for 99% of searches.

If you want to totally geek out with Google, then you have to try out the measurement conversions. You can figure out all the normal stuff like how many teaspoons are in a liter, but you can also do *smoots*.

Smoots are an MIT frat’s personal length measurement that they got many years ago from the height of one of their pledges: they measured the bridge from Cambridge to Boston with him and have painted it on the bridge itself (and the city paints around it now ha)