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Summary:

Google continues to buy up tiny start-ups, building its software arsenal and adding to its engineering ranks. They have just snapped-up Sketch Up, a tiny six-year old start-up that makes some sort of 3D software. I have never heard of them, which is my bad, but […]

Google continues to buy up tiny start-ups, building its software arsenal and adding to its engineering ranks. They have just snapped-up Sketch Up, a tiny six-year old start-up that makes some sort of 3D software. I have never heard of them, which is my bad, but apparently the Mac people think it is the shizzle. Here is company’s own take on the deal. (Can someone explain what Google will do with this?)

Update: Greg Sterling says its all about maps. “When you get rich 3-D mapping up and running on the Internet there are all kinds of use cases and ad opportunities. Think about real estate or hotels/travel as two immediate examples that come to mind,” he writes.

Update # 2: Looks like some of the readers were spot on. Google is now working with Volkswagen and developing 3D maps for car navigation systems.

The system, based on the Google Earth program, is expected to allow three dimensional depictions of routes, the newspaper says, quoting VW. The system is also expected to draw from online sources for real-time traffic and weather information to aid drivers.

  1. SketchUp lets you put buildings on Google Earth.

    http://www.sketchup.com/index.php?id=408

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  2. Perhaps google will use the company’s 3d rendering knowledge to make the google maps completely 3d, ala what MS live released a few weeks ago?

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  3. Mark Leichliter Tuesday, March 14, 2006

    Sketch-Up is a true rarity among 3d softwares: it is actually easy to use. It’s also available for both Mac and Windows, so it’s not just Mac people (of which I’m one) who find it the “shizzle”. As to what Google will do with it, I’m hoping the answer is absolutely nothing — if they screw up this program, heads will roll.

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  4. Hopefully Google will make it free to encourage people to continue making buildings on Google Earth

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  5. My guess,
    google will release nice easy to use plugins for everyone to build their own houses on 3D.. this could be huge for places like malls, where lets say i want to see the apple store in woodfield mall, i type in and i go through the roof to see the actual store…

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  6. It is my inclination that Google will integrate the softwarwe with Google Maps and Google Earth. It is no secret that Google has been working to provide 3-d images of major downtown areas. Check out this 3-d image of downtown Chicago.

    http://earth.google.com/tour/images/buildings_lg.jpg

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  7. Is this the first time Google bought a company outside of the Bay area besides dmarc? I bet this is a bigger deal than it seems – just like Keyhole turned into Google Earth. Someone must know the story. Who’s behind SketchUp?

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  8. “a tiny six-year old start-up”

    That’s one heckuva long time to be tiny or a startup!

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  9. sure, it is… but it is a tiny company. and still a start-up. it was a tongue in cheek comment :-)

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  10. Randhir Reddy Tuesday, March 14, 2006

    They’d use this even in the GPS Navigation system, they’re working with VW. This is a Good fit.

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