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Digital Everything

October 28, 2006

Filed under: CAD/CAM/CAE,future,Internet — Terry Wohlers @ 12:32

In March, Google announced that it had acquired @Last Software, the makers of the popular SketchUp software. At the time, many people—including me—wondered why the search giant bought this small Colorado-based company. As I learned more about the strategy at Google, it began to make sense.

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. With Google Earth, the company expects to play a dominant role in making companies, sports stadiums, shopping mails, airports—you name it—available on the Internet in 3D graphical form. For instance, suppose you are interested in attending a professional football game in Denver, Colorado. Google Earth would take you to the USA, then to Colorado, and to Invesco Field at Mile High. You could then explore restaurants, retail stores, and so on, and review the products and services at each the businesses in the stadium. Much of it would appear graphically.

Describing the content of the earth is a big job, even for Google. Therefore, the company has decided to solicit the help of others. Anyone with an Internet connection can download the SketchUp software to “sketch up” the structure of a business in 3D. I downloaded the free version a few weeks ago and created basic but interesting 3D buildings within about three minutes. No joke. They could not have made it easier to use. Google hopes that if you want to be found within Google Earth, you will submit a SketchUp model of your business for inclusion.

InformationWeek and CADWire.com published details on the acquisition of @Last Software in March. Both articles provide insight into the business deal between the two companies. If you’re interested in giving SketchUp a try, go to the Google page that permits you to download it. If you’re like me, you’ll find SketchUp impressive and easy to use. Within minutes, you too will be a candidate to help Google fulfill its mission.