You may or may not know about Google's SketchUp program, but it's the company's 3D modeling program that's used by a lot of people. It could be because it has a free version that's relatively powerful and easy to learn. Google has been the owner of the application for a while now, but it's time to move on.
John Bacus, Product Manager for SketchUp, announced today that SketchUp is leaving Google. This comes on the announcement that Trimble, a company known for its geological surveying expertise and GPSs, has acquired SketchUp for an undisclosed sum.
SketchUp sees this as only a good thing since it allows them to "focus on our communities: modelers who have been with us since the beginning, as well as future SketchUppers who have yet to discover our products." It also seems that Trimble will be pumping more money into SketchUp to allow the application to grow into more fields and businesses.
Sticking with who Trimble primarily markets to, SketchUp will be creating tools that favor the architecture, engineering and construction industries. Fortunately, they aren't going to stop supporting those who use the free version of SketchUp either. There will be plenty of SketchUp to go around it seems.
The part of the deal that probably influenced the acquisition the most is SketchUp's 3D Warehouse where users can upload and critique thousands of 3D models. Trimble and Google will be working together on this aspect of the company since Google will continue to run the 3D Warehouse.
"SketchUp and the corresponding 3D Warehouse provide an important element of our long term strategy by enhancing the integration of our field presence with the wider enterprise," said Bryn Fosburgh, Trimble vice president. "Trimble has already created the de-facto standard for field data models and project management tools for our key markets. SketchUp, together with these existing capabilities, will provide a stand-alone and enterprise solution that will enable an integrated and seamless workflow to reduce rework and improve productivity for the customer. Users will be able to collect data, design, model, and collaborate on one platform. The combined capability will enhance our ability to extend our existing market applications including the cadastral, heavy civil, and building and construction industries. In addition, the SketchUp platform will enable Trimble, third-party developers and our distribution partners to efficiently develop new applications."
So look at this way, it's not like SketchUp is really leaving Google. It's more like Trimble is just providing the resources to help SketchUp grow while Google maintains the relationship between the three companies. As mentioned, the free version of SketchUp will also remain free. Users who generally freak out whenever acquisitions happen have no reason for alarm.