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There were rumors floating around about the acquisition of Google SketchUp. It was thought the buyer may be Dassault Systemes. SpaceClaim was even in there at one point. Turns out that the acquisition rumor was true, but speculation on the buyer? Waaaaaay off. Today, Trimble, producers of advanced location-based hardware and software, announced they have entered into an agreement with Google to acquire SketchUp, the 3D modeling platform previously acquired by Google from @Last software in March of 2006.

SketchUp acquired by Trimble

The acquisition is planned to go through the second quarter of 2012 with no financials being disclosed. The announcement came out over the Official Google SketchUp blog.

“I’m sharing today that the SketchUp team and technology will be leaving Google to join Trimble. We’ll be better able to focus on our core communities: modelers who have been with us from the beginning, as well as future SketchUppers who have yet to discover our products. Designers, builders and makers of things have always been the heart and soul of SketchUp. With Trimble’s commitment to invest in our growth, we’ll be able to innovate and develop new features better than ever before.”

So, this is a move for the whole SketchUp team, not just the SketchUp technology.

Are you a SketchUp user? Excited? Scared? This may seem an odd match-up. Trimble is positioning technologies. SketchUp is 3D modeling. However, Trimble is not foreign to 3D data, data capturing and CAD software. They manufacture their own line of laser scanning equipment with associated software to visualize the data and extract 3d point cloud and geometry.

Then there are the millions of users within the SketchUp community. Trimble has no community of its own, so definitely an asset for them. But what will Trimble do with them? The change from Google SketchUp to Trimble SketchUp is bound to have some impact. (Have you ever heard of Trimble?) Google drove a lot of the growth just because of the brand. Dassault’s Shape and Autodesk 123D are, and always have been in my opinion, better products. Now, with the momentum Autodesk has with the 123D products, and with Dassault out of the rumor mill, I see the SketchUp product becoming even more specific to architectural and Autodesk becoming more established in the free-and-easy 3D modeling market, especially with their focus on makers and the like.

Trimble via Google SketchUp Blog

Filed under: CAD NEWS

  • Jon

    Coming from 3DS Max – I gave-up on Sketch-up, I’m amazed at what people are able to produce using this software… I find it far too limiting with a user interface that’s even worse than Blender!

    Founder of WoodMarvels.com

  • thomasteger

    How can you even compare Max and SketchUp? As far as UI goes – I disagree. I just build my bathroom in an afternoon using SketchUp for more than just a simple test. No way I could do this in Max. Or Blender. Or whatever.

  • Decepticon

    Blender is much much much more difficult to utilize than SketchUp. I am clueless as the reasoning why Google sold off SketchUp … to Trimble? Maybe a year down the road SU will be sold off again to some random company, like Denny’s or PhillipMorris.

  • Jon

    Easy Thomas, one is intuitive, the other is a mess… it depends on what you are use to. I “grew-up” on 3DS Max so to me, designing a bathroom would take me about as much time in Max as it does for you in SketchUp but my render would be prettier, have running water and I could animate it being used by Shrek too! Same goes with the Blender guys, they do amazing stuff, I can’t make heads-or-tails of how they go about doing it with such an awful UI.

    To each his or her own – there was no Blender or Maya when I started teaching myself 3D much less SketchUp so I went through the nose bleeding learning curve when I was young.


  • Jon

    Trimble is moving into construction software the purchased Accubid, a construction estimating software company last year, maybe they are wanting to use sketchup for BIM to go along with there estimating software

  • Josh M

    No doubt. Looking forward to some innovation in that space.