Two items down is the pre-announcement about Bentley's earth-shaking 3D viewer being announced tomorrow. As we know, tomorrow already exists further to the east of us.
A CAD editor tells me he was doing the interview with Bentley and their new Goggle-Earth-based viewer when the news came through that Google bought AtLast Software for its ability to place 3D CAD models in Google Earth.
"It was all a bit of a shock to everyone," he notes. There might be some upset-sounding phones calls origininating fromExton PA and directed at Mountain View CA.
And to think I (and others) mere days ago complained about the lack of excitment in the CAD world...
What I find interesting is how slow the general computer press is. The news was posted at 7:57am. Bloggers were onto the story within the hour. Randall Newton of AECnews.com made the first announcement on a CAD blog at 8:52 (although I am under the impression he has some posting delay issues), following which WorldCAD Access posted the news at 9:03am. Roopinder Tara of Tenlinks.com spread the news by email at 9:14am.
As of 10:30am, none of the "big" computer news sites, such as CNET or The Register, have posted this Google-related item. They might not care about AtLast, but they would recognize "google."
I've found someone who has figured out how Google might be able to use SketchUp. After noting that SketchUp works well with TabletPCs, the Incremental Blogger writes:
... Google's acquisition of @Last Software may be the first -- eh, or should I say closest thing to a -- tablet acquisition by GMY [Google Microsoft Yahoo] in recent years. Will there be more to come?
Not related directly to this acquisition, Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Watch complains:
Google's purchase of Writely sort of drove me over the edge last week. When I saw the news confirmed, I exclaimed out loud to myself, "Oh, give me a break." ... a break from Google going in yet another direction when there is so much stuff they haven't finished, gotten right or need to fix.
He then goes on to list 25 things he hates about Google. Did the AtLast staff read this before accepting a fistful of dollars? One item: don't give away everything for free.
Other CAD bloggers are starting to post:
Amit Agarwal's Digital Inspiration asks: Where's Google headed ? SketchUp makes great 3D models for Google Earth but at the same time, SketchUp is a powerful BIM software much like Revit 8.1 or the new 2D-to-3D capabilities of AutoCAD 2007. Is Google setting eyes on the CAD market now ?
Nathan Weinberg's Inside Google asks: Are they aquiring the software or the people? Obviously, easy to use 3D modeling software is a very good thing, but only for 3D modelers. SketchUp doesn't fit into any of Google's normal product areas. It seems likely that this has nothing to do with the actual product, but I guess we'll see.
Sketchup as BIM? No way, Jose! Still, the acquisition paves the way for Google to get into the AEC market in greater degrees. They could certainly develop it into something BIM-like, and here's hoping they do. Revit needs the competition ;-)
Posted by: Wes Macaulay | Mar 14, 2006 at 01:39 PM
Google Earth Pro 3, and it's predecessor Keyhole Pro 2, mostly targeted land and urban design professionals in this A/E/P firm. Now with some compelling examples created by some of our architects, where they plunk down SketchUp models into Google Earth terrains, and create fly-around movies of them, the architects are asking for Google Earth. The plugin requires that SketchUp and Google earth be running on the same machine... smart (in terms of selling products). Google Earth Pro + the 3 premium modules (the premium modules is what makes Google Earth Pro worth using), has an aggressive pricing model in favor of Google, in that the software is paid for on a yearly contract basis. The last time around we bought licenses the list cost was approx. $1500 per year (Pro version + the 3 premium modules).
Posted by: Mark McDonough | Mar 15, 2006 at 01:15 PM