Google has rebuilt Chrome OS’ built-in Calculator app, making it available for all devices, not just Chromebooks.
For years, Chromebook owners have been able to use Google’s free calculator app. It is built with web technology but is a native app, pre-installed with Chrome OS. The app starts with a simple layout for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and can be expanded to reveal geometry and trigonometry tools.
Over the past few years, Google has moved away from native apps like these on Chromebooks, opting instead for formal web apps where possible, as well as apps for Android and Linux. For example, the Chrome Canvas app, which lets users draw and create simple artwork with their Chromebook, is hosted entirely online rather than being pre-installed or downloaded from an app store.
Chrome OS Calculator is the latest app to go fully online, starting with the recently released Chrome OS version 97. When you launch the calculator, you will now briefly see the URL where Google hosts the web application – calculator.apps. chrome — in the application bar. Despite the fact that the app is now online, it is fully functional offline thanks to Progressive Web Apps technology.
Generally speaking, Chromebook owners shouldn’t notice any major functional differences with their new calculator. A notable drawback, as mentioned by 9to5Google readers on Twitter, is that the app now has a minimum width that is a bit wider than what was previously needed. Otherwise, it’s the same app you’re used to. Going forward, it’s now possible for Google to make changes to the Calculator app separately from updates to Chrome OS as a whole.
Where things get interesting is when you realize Chrome OS’ Calculator is now just a normal web app. And like any good progressive web app, it can be used and even installed on just about any device you can think of, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
Each of these platforms offers its own calculator app, and while it’s unlikely the Chrome OS version will be better than your default calculator, it’s good to see Google’s option is so widely available. . That said, the app clearly wasn’t designed with certain form factors in mind, with the Chrome OS calculator looking particularly awkward when used on a smartphone in portrait orientation.
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