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Mar 21, 2006


Scott Hucke

So far Google hasn't charged anything for their services, relying on other streams of income and giving their "stuff" away for free.

Will they require a $400 fee to allow you to design your home and then add on all the data you (or others gathering information about you) to the metadata about your "location"? Not according to their history...

They are building the virtual earth, which will eventually contain links to all the data they have on us.

Perhaps they bought sketch-up because their current in-house tool isn't sufficiently adequate to rapidly build the buildings they are trying to include within the virtual cities in google earth?

What does their search engine do, in "earth" terms? You can get local and global data through a search query in text format.

Now, throw in the same query algorithms to satellite and graphic data, 3d buildings and features, website locations, email addresses, etc, and return the website, products, advertising, downloads, etc to the searcher, all packaged through links to the location in google earth.

Worth money? In the long term, YES! I am going to put a deposit down now, for the billboard on the side of my Virtual Google Earth home, before someone else does!

Brian Myers

While an excellent application is using the program with Google Earth, this actually fits well into the business plan of Google, driving information content. In this case, it drives the information content provided by its Google Earth service to a variety of different CAD platforms that can use data from SketchUp data (and now as a result, Google Earth data) in the design process. Eventually, outside of non-industry public eyes, I would expect GPS data to be included in this service as well (at a charge or fee) to these firms.

Ultimately this move will further entrench Google content into the architectural and engineering sectors where the use of this data content is/will-be a multi-million dollar industry. The creation of Google Earth and purchase of SketchUp is just the beginning of driving profitable information content, Google primary business model.

Possible reasons for the acquisition:

- Using it for a possible "real estate" section in Google/Google Earth.

- The owner of SketchUp is a college buddy of a Google bigwig and the bigwig wants an excuse to make his buddy rich.

Can you name any product that has come out with associated import/export plug-in for ESRI's ArcGIS?

I can. Sketch-up

Mark McDonough

Regarding Matt Stachoni's views on the "googlization" of SketchUp, and the characterization of the usefulness (or lack thereof) of Google Earth, I get a sense that Matt is not working in an environment that's making good use of the product.

First thing to clarify, is that we're really talking about Google Earth PRO 3.0 (it's predecessor was KeyHole Pro 2.0). The free version (Google Earth), or the $20 version (Google Earth Plus) are just fun little toys, and their EULA expressly prohibits those free or very cheap versions being used for business. But Google Earth Pro, combined with the "Premium Modules"; Premium Printing, Data Importer, and Movie Maker, is what makes it compelling (and expensive) for use in a design firm. When we bought our licences in version 2 (named Keyhole then), the product list price was $600 per year, with each module costing $299 each PER YEAR, an outlay of approx $1500 per licence PER YEAR. The PER YEAR cost is the important part to take note of here. The other relevant bit on licensing, is that they don't do network licensing, concurrent or "floating licensing", which is unfortunate for the manager (such as me) trying to implement such software tools in a business, while trying to balance out the costs.

The ability to import data from GIS and elsewhere, and merge it interactively with Google earth terrains, then create presentations, fly-ins + fly-arounds, becomes a compelling tool for our land planners and urban designers. Most of the Google Earth users like to do live Google Earth presentations, where there have a series of "placemarks", and clicking on them visually transitions smoothly from a particular 3D land view to another orientation. Even in 2D aerial views, easily found with Google Earth, then with the ability to import data and overlay boundaries, circulation, GIS themes, etc, again make GE Pro version very appealing to our land planning staff and designers.

So why did Google buy SketchUp. Seems like an odd pairing to me too, but for Google, I think it was a wise move, particularly considering the way the SketchUp - Google Earth plugin is implemented. To use the plugin, you must have Google Earth and Sketchup running on the same computer... this will surely push Google Earth Pro sales. Already, I have architects creating presentations using Google Earth and Sketchup, and they WANT GOOGLE EARTH on their desktop, instead of on a "shared PC" within the office.

Matt Stachoni

In response to Mark McDonough's comments "..I get a sense that Matt is not working in an environment that's making good use of the product" - How anyone uses Google Earth + SketchUp is immaterial to my point, which is that (a) there is no correlation between GE+SU users and the open source community, because (b) there is simply no way that millions of ordinary people are going to model their homes for the heck of it, and (c) that data doesn't go back into Google Earth anyway.


"I already know my lawn's a mess -- the rest of the world does not."

Hmmmn....they do now.

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