17 June 2006

SketchUp acqusition makes more sense now

A few months ago, Google bought SketchUp (http://www.sketchup.com/), a cool but very quirky 3D modeling program. It wasn't obvious why this made any business sense, although it was great becase they started giving away SketchUp for free.

Now it makes more sense -- with the latest Google SketchUp and the latest Google Earth (http://earth.google.com/earth4.html), you can directly export from SketchUp into Google Earth. So, what they're hoping is that by providing a free end-ser content creation tool, they'll get lots of people to model various buildings in the world and contribute the results to Google Earth (the new Google Earth also supports Collada input, meaning you can use any of the mainline 3D modeling packages like Maya, Max, ro XSi as well).

If they're successful at creating a critical mass of data -- which seems likely, if you haven't played with Google Earth, it's really fun -- then they'll control the most complete dataset of 3D models of the planet. Yet another brick in the "organizing the world's information (and serving AdWords against it)" architecture!

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