Desmos Calculator Launches with Google Drive

At Desmos, we’ve always looked to Google Docs (now Google Drive) for inspiration. With Docs (Drive), the Google Team figured out how to take a few ubiquitous and essential utilities and flip them on their head. Word processing and spreadsheets belong in the browser, where they can be accessed from anywhere, shared with a link, even edited collaboratively. As browsers become ever more powerful, it just makes sense that these programs not be locked in to specific devices or installed software.

We’ve long felt that the Graphing Calculator was ripe for similar disruption. The calculator of today looks exactly like it did in 1991, before Google or even Netscape. In our opinion, that’s a both a travesty for math education and a significant opportunity. We thus set out to re-imagine the calculator from the ground up, a calculator that exposes the beauty of math, that would make math fun instead of a chore, social instead of solitary. We imagined this calculator living entirely in the browser, built on top of the best the web has to offer. We spent months and months of late nights and early mornings and launched the html5 calculator in January of this year.

Well, it turns out that people wanted a better, more beautiful, more social calculator. Since launching a few months ago, we’ve seen a growing stream of truly inspiring graphs, from complicated math demos to beautiful drawings. Like this graph of a dog, made by Amy, a high school senior:

…or this graph of a space shuttle launch, built by another high school senior, using over 273 separate equations:

Exciting to say the least. So when the Drive team reached out to us about integrating, it was a no-brainer. Drive represents what we believe to be the future of “files,” available in-browser on any device, and synched seamlessly between machines. For all of us at Team Desmos, our launch with Google Drive is a watershed moment, and the culmination of months of effort toward a shared vision – software that is inherently social and not tied to any device. This is an exciting time to be building web software, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of it.