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.