Google has released a free version of the
SketchUp application for creating, viewing and modifying 3D images it acquired when it
bought @Last Software Inc. in March. The release is available for Windows 2000 and Windows XP Home and Professional editions, but Google says a Mac OS X version is in the works.
Google is also launching a Web site called
3D Warehouse, where SketchUp users can store and share their designs and collaborate, the Mountain View, California, company announced Thursday.
SketchUp has also been integrated with Google Earth, so that now SketchUp designs can be integrated with that popular mapping application, Google said.
The free version of SketchUp is for personal use only. It is based on the existing SketchUp Pro 5, a fee-based version with a commercial license and more advanced features.
SketchUp is particularly well-suited for users interested in creating 3D models of structures, such as houses, sheds, decks, home additions and woodworking projects, according to Google.
The fee-based version is intended primarily for professionals, such as architects, designers, builders, art directors and game developers, while the free version is aimed at hobbyists.
The decision to release a free version of the application is congruent with Google’s mission to make information “accessible and useful,” the company said.