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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Free Google SketchUp

What’s the easiest way to crush competitors and make users happy? Release everything for free. Google recently bought 3D software SketchUp and is now doing exactly that – releasing a free version of it for personal use (SketchUp Pro 5, for commercial use, still needs to be purchased). SketchUp is a 3D modeling software with a focus on easy “sketching" for architects. The 19 MB download is Windows-only for now, but Google promises a Mac version is “coming soon.”


Also, Google now allows you to place your finished models on their Google Earth satellite tool – maybe Google Maps one day, too? – and share creations on the new 3D Warehouse site (which, surprisingly enough, has no Beta sign). Right now, there’s already around 5,356 models online – everything from the Taj Mahal to the White House to a dining suite. There’s even starship “Google Enterprise”...


If you never used SketchUp before, you can learn it by starting the program and following the tutorials offered on the splash screen. Further support is available in the unmoderated Google group on the subject. I’m curious what everyone will do with SketchUp now – it certainly reaches a new audience today.

[Thanks Reto Meier, Niraj Sanghvi.]


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