Google is to sell the SketchUp 3D modelling platform to satellite mapping specialist Trimble Navigation. As part of the deal, Trimble will also partner Google in developing online model library 3D Warehouse.
Although not a household name in the entertainment industry, Trimble Navigation does have a track record in purchasing 3D technologies – although so far, primarily CAD and laser scanning solutions.
“For those of you in the architecture, engineering and construction industries, the knowledge Trimble will add to the SketchUp effort are obvious,” wrote SketchUp product manager John Bacus on the SketchUp blog.
“Together with our new colleagues at Trimble, we plan to continue making our tools for the building professions as innovative, intuitive and (dare I say) fun to use as we always have.”
Bacus also commented that a free version of SketchUp will be available for the foreseeable future.
“Our mission has always been to make 3D modeling tools that anyone can use. The free version of SketchUp is an important part of our world as well, and that isn’t changing in the least.”
The deal, which is still subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012.
Updated 1 May: GraphicSpeak has an interesting story on the deal, which provides more information about Trimble Navigation and discusses its motivation for acquiring SketchUp.