RealTime IT News

Latest Google Buy in 3D

Search giant Google swallowed up @Last Software, makers of the 3-D design software SketchUp, Google said in its blog.

Details of the acquisition appear on SketchUp.com. The company formerly known as @Last and Google began working toward the acquisition when the companies co-developed the Google Earth plug-in for SketchUp, the FAQ page states.

That plug-in allowed SketchUp users to load their own 3-D designs onto Google Earth, the company's popular satellite-mapped navigable landscape.

In that context, many see this latest acquisition as Google's attempt to upgrade its mapping and 3-D functions.

In a statement on the SketchUp.com page, Google hints toward such a conclusion, conceding that they "are tired of all those grey boxes in Google Earth."

Analyst David Card of JupiterResearch understands the search giant might be upgrading its popular 3D technology, but otherwise, he doesn't see the logic to the acquisition. "I think it is rather peripheral to their core business," he said. (Jupiter Research shares its parent company with internetnews.com.)

Card went on to suggest the acquisition might be more about Google's image.

"Some of the stuff they do," Card said, "is to reinforce the fact that they do cool stuff. For their customers and for the Ph.D.s who work there.

"It's like Google Mars," Card said, "What's that for?"