Another Google purchase, in 3D software

When I wrote a post at the end of last year on Google’s acquisitions, I didn’t expect that I would have to update it as frequently as I have been recently. I added a new company this morning.

Google has purchased @Last Software, maker of a very nice looking 3D modeling software package named Sketchup. It appears that the companies had been working together on a plugin, to enable people to use the software with Google Earth. I’ve added a couple of details about the purchase in my Google acquisition post, including a rumor from last October, and a link to a patent owned by the acquired company.

It’s been interesting to speculate on how Google might spend some of the money that they gained through their IPO. This seems like some useful software. Jeff Martin, formerly of @Last Software, blogs about his new employer, and the change of ownership over at the Google Blog – A new home for @Last Software

What changes will this bring to Sketchup? There’s a very detailed Google Acquisition FAQ’s answering many questions on the deal.

Nice quote on the Sketchup Update page, on what this means to users of the software:

I can’t stress this enough: the future of SketchUp just got a big shot in the arm, so please don’t worry about the product or our mission. Think about it this way: we haven’t traded in the Honda for a Porsche; we’ve strapped a rocket to the Honda. SketchUp is still SketchUp, but now it will go places it couldn’t possibly have gone before.

That’s at least the fourth acquisition of the year for Google, and it’s not even spring. These seem to be getting closer, and close together. I wonder what’s next on the shopping list in Mountain View.

(via Google Blogoscoped)

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9 thoughts on “Another Google purchase, in 3D software”

  1. Pingback: Google’s "Universal Office" | inter:digital strategies
  2. Wow Google really have been busy lately! Its kind of hard to pick out an overarching strategy from the purchases though. Some acquisitions seem to make a lot of sense whilst some leave me scratching my head as to what direction Google will go in next.

  3. Hi Ross,

    I think there may be many different reasons why Google acquires some of the businesses that they do, from an interest in the technology or the intellectual property behind it, to an interest in hiring the people behind the companies.

    This is a fairly old post now. It’s been a while since this acquisition.

    I can’t remember the source, but I believe that I saw something suggesting that Google might be offering the rights to SketchUp for sale. I’m not sure that they will. It seems to be something that can work together well with Google Earth.

    This recent news is interesting as well:

    Google Program Offers Unexpected Benefits For Kids With Autism
    http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2009/01/19/architecture-program/1759/

    See this on Project Spectrm:

    http://www.google.com/educators/spectrum.html

  4. I use Sketchup myself. It is very ease to use, but is quite limited in capability.

    Personally, I think the best free 3D program is still Blender 3D. But Blender has a much higher learning curve than Sketchup.

  5. Thanks, 3D lover,

    I think making a 3D program that is free and easy to use is a challenge in itself. As an educational tool, I think it’s a great starting place for people who might not be ready for the learning curve that other programs might pose. :)

    Thanks for the suggestion of Blender 3D.

  6. Google Sketchup is really useful for quickly setting up a plan on how your home theatre will look. This makes it a LOT easier to ask questions on home theater forums with speaker placement etc. There are a lot of free models to make a home theater sketch very realistic, on Googles search:
    http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/search?tags=home+theater

    I used to do this kind of stuff in 3DS Max, but that was a little more complicated.
    And the price difference is pretty big too.. :)

    Although nothing beats lying in the sun on a blanket drawing it with pen and paper.. :)

  7. Hi Jeff,

    Tools like sketchup can be really useful for many different applications. I haven’t spent enough time in there tinkering around, but it’s the kind of thing that you can use in many ways, from laying out a new office seating configuration, to planning landscaping or even the layout of a garden. Fun stuff, and useful, too.

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