Personal Tech Pipeline | Acquisition | Google Buys Maker Of 3D Modeling Software

White Papers

Sponsor Resources

Free Newsletter GlossaryContact UsAbout Us
Players & CamsPhones & PDAsHome & AutoOnline

March 14, 2006

Google Buys Maker Of 3D Modeling Software

Courtesy of TechWeb News

Google Inc. on Tuesday said it has bought 3D modeler @Last Software, the second acquisition announced in less than a week by the search engine giant as it builds out its expanding Web services platform.

Financial details were not disclosed, nor were there any indication as to Google's plans for @Last's sole product called SketchUp, which enables people to build design concepts in 3D.

The tools are meant for a general audience, not just design professionals, and include a plug-in for Google Earth, the company's desktop software for viewing satellite images of geographical locations. The two companies had worked together on the plug-in, which was released this year.

In a posting to customers on @Last's Web site, Brad Schell, co-founder of the 7-year-old, Boulder, Colo., company, said it would continue to develop and sell SketchUp, which costs $495.

"Google's resources will allow us to serve our current users better, and Google's reach will allow us to expose more people to SketchUp in one year than we could have touched in 10 years on our own," Schell said. "'3D for Everyone' is becoming a reality; we're bringing the '3D' part; Google's contributing the 'Everyone.'"

Indeed, acquisitions of small companies like @Last could increase over the coming months as more of the major portals, including Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN, look to add services to their Web platforms. For many small Internet companies today, a "building-to-be-bought" strategy is their best chance for survival, Allen Weiner, analyst for Gartner Inc., said.

"I don't see how a lot of these smaller niche vendors are going to survive," Weiner said. "They're going to have to be swallowed up by the bigger companies in the food chain."

For Google, @Last will certainly add value to its mapping platform by enabling designers to overlay SketchUp models on Google Earth, Weiner said. The technology is also likely to be used in other Google services.

Acquisition talks started when the companies worked together on the Google Earth plug-in, Schell said. "It quickly became apparent that we could really stir things up together."

Without providing any details, Schell hinted that Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., intended to do more integration between @Last's technology and Earth.

"We do not have any announced plans regarding the integration of this technology with current Google products and services, but we can say that we’re tired of all those grey boxes in Google Earth," he said.

@Last's headquarters would remain in Boulder, and it would continue to have offices in Munich and London, Schell said. The company's name would change to Google, but the product would still be sold as SketchUp.

The acquisition was the second for Google this month. The company bought startup Writely, an online word processing service that allows users to store and work with text documents on the Web.

Google has declined to discuss its integration plans for Writely, which places the search engine in direct competition with Microsoft Corp.'s plans to eventually make all its software, including Office, available as a Web service.

E-mail This Story
Print This Story
Reprint This Story

Get the latest Personal Tech news, product info, and trends every week.

Related Content

  Right-click and choose Copy to extract RSS Feed URL  Personal Tech Pipeline's Main RSS Feed
  Right-click and choose Copy to extract RSS Feed URL  Personal Tech Pipeline's Blog RSS Feed

Keeping Up To Date On Enterprise Server Tech?
Review our compilation of columns on server security, database software, and Linux issues.
How to Achieve High Performance Through IT
Learn to achieve high performance by aligning IT to
strategic objectives and solutions to unlock that value.
Using Current Performance to Shape
Future Results

Hear new strategies for improving business
performance and results.

Editor's Picks

Well, Microsoft has "unfolded" its "Origami" ultra-mobile PC platform Thursday. It turned out to be a full-featured PC smaller than a tablet but bigger than a PDA. Are you impressed?
Yes! I want one!
Sort of. We'll see.
No! It's too big for a pocket and too small for real computing. What's the point?

In search of personal tech products? See our new Product Finder, where you'll find personal computing devices, communications solutions, security products, and more.

Trend Micro Enterprise Anti-Spyware Solutions
"Trend Micro is delivering what enterprise customers want." -The Forrester WAVE/Enterprise Anti-Spyware, Q1 2006/Forrester 2006. Download a FREE 30-day trial of Trend Micro Anti-Spyware Solutions for Enterprise Today.

Prevent Information Leaks from your Network
With GTB Inspector Appliance. Free Trial (March 2006 only). GTB Inspector is a hardware appliance. It is installed easily and transparently on the network edge and prevents leaks of confidential information to the Internet.

Cost-Effectively Secure Sensitive Data
Encrypting data in servers and databases can address security gaps and privacy legislation. Ingrian DataSecure Platforms offer granular encryption, seamless integration, and centralized security management. Combat data theft--with unprecedented ease and cost effectiveness. Download a white paper that outlines best practices for securing data.

Symantec Backup Solutions
Desktop to Data Center Protection. Explore the Official Symantec Site.

cost-effective Web server security
$200 discount coupon available now for the purchase of dotDefender, a website security solution that is available for a 30-day evaluation period. dotDefender supports Apache, IIS and iPlanet Web servers and all Linux Operating Systems.

Buy a Link Now

Top ten search terms from the TechWeb TechEncyclopedia
Stellent eSeminar "Approaches to Metadata Design" on March 23
Mobilized Solutions Guide: Find and compare solutions for your business
Top Requested White Paper Categories from TechWeb White paper Library
Top ten search terms from the TechWeb TechEncyclopedia