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Google Whips Up 3D Graphing Goodness in Search

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Add one more thing to the list of fun stuff you can do directly from Google's search box: 3D Graph Plotting. And these aren’t just still 3D charts. They're colorful and fully manipulable, all thanks to Google Chrome Browser’s support for WebGL.


According to a post in Google's Inside Search blog, the new features are an enhancement to the 2D graphing functionality Google launched late last year. Google announced the new update by providing a sample equation that, if you have the Chrome browser, you can drop right into the address bar: “tanh(y(y^4+5x^4-10(x^2)(y^2))/(x^2+y^2)^4)”. Hit enter and you get a lovely, dynamic 3D graphic.


The resulting 3D plot can be rotated with your mouse or by hitting the play button within the graph window. That window also includes zoom controls and details on the X, Y and Z plot axes. You likely still have to be a math whiz to know what the graph and numbers actually mean.


As Google Engineer and self-described math lover Adi Avidor explained in the post, "This feature is available globally, so now millions of students can explore and interact with compound math functions right in their search results."


The 3D plotting function works in Chrome and Firefox, two browsers which support WebGL hardware acceleration. Microsoft's competing Web Browser, Internet Explorer does not support WebGL because of security concerns. As a result, putting any of these equations in Google Search inside of Internet Explorer simply results in a whole bunch of search results with even more complex equations.


Google has a couple of equation-to-3D plotting examples that you can see for yourself in these animated Gifs. Brownie points if you can tell us in the comments the equations Google used to create these 3D Graphs.


Google 3D Plot flower_small
Google 3D Plot goodHeart_small
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