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Google adds bitcoin to its currency conversion

The search giant will tell you how much your bitcoins are worth in another currency -- and vice versa.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Want to know how much your bitcoins are worth? You can now ask Google.

The search engine's currency converter now includes bitcoin, along with all of the world's more traditional currencies, CoinDesk reported Tuesday. Google provides a few options for checking the value of a bitcoin.

You can access Google's Currency Converter directly. At the converter tool, type the number that you want to convert, select the first currency and then select the second currency. For example, if you want to convert 100 bitcoins into US dollars, type 100 in the number field, select bitcoin in the first field and then US dollars in the second field. Click the convert button, and Google provides the answer.

You can obviously go the opposite route by choosing a specific amount in dollars or another currency and seeing how much your stash would be worth in bitcoin.

People who dabble in bitcoin know that it can be a volatile commodity. A quick glance at a website called the Bitcoin Volatility Index reveals the roller coaster ride from the past few years. The virtual currency has also gone through its share of troubles. Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was forced to declare bankruptcy after its CEO reported that hackers broke into its system and stole 750,000 customer bitcoins, as well as 100,000 of the exchange's own bitcoins. Despite bitcoin's volatility and controversy, more retailers are choosing to accept it as a valid form of currency.

Getting back to Google's search, instead of accessing Google's Currency Converter directly, you can also type your query in Google's search field. For example, type the phrase "bitcoin value" in the search field, and Google tells you the value of a single bitcoin in your default currency. You can change the amount as well as the second currency.

Another option is to type a specific number of bitcoins and a certain currency in Google's search field. For example, type the phrase "500 bitcoins dollars," and Google tells you how much 500 bitcoins are worth in US dollars.

Mobile users can also tap into the Google app to perform the currency conversion, a Google rep informed CoinDesk. Open the Google app on your mobile device. You can then type or speak your currency question. For example, ask Google "How many bitcoins are in 500 U.S. dollars?" In return, you'll see or hear the specific answer.

A disclaimer by Google notes that the bitcoin price listed in the search results may not reflect the actual real-time value. Google's move to incorporate bitcoin in its currency conversion follows a similar gesture by Microsoft's Bing in February.