New products from Google
Last month we told you that @Last Software had joined the Google fold. Today we’re releasing Google SketchUp, a free version of our 3D modeling software, which makes our long-time vision of making 3D accessible to everyone a reality.
We’re still offering SketchUp Pro 5 for design professionals like architects, designers, builders, art directors and game developers. Both Google SketchUp and SketchUp Pro 5 enable you to place models in Google Earth; Pro users get some additional features.
The new Google SketchUp is for the do-it-yourselfer, the hobbyist — really anyone who wants to build 3D models for use in Google Earth. Go ahead and model that new kitchen, or deck, landscape your virtual garden, or impress your teacher with a roller coaster or medieval castle. When you’re finished, place your model in Google Earth. There! The beginning of a virtual world. Warning: don’t start messing with this stuff after dinner because your first experience could be an all-nighter… making an idea come to life in 3D can be very addicting.
And what could be better than that? Well, sharing your work with everyone else through the 3D Warehouse. Accessible through both versions of SketchUp, 3D Warehouse enables you to upload, search, browse, view, and download SketchUp models. Just as you do with Google search, enter some keywords and the 3D Warehouse shows you all your options. Grab the one you want and import it into your model. (Note that the Warehouse is not stocked up yet — so model something yourself and upload it for all the world to see.)
Visionaries, utopians, virtual world builders: your time has come.
Google Maps in Europe
We're excited to announce that we have just launched beta versions of Google Maps for France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. These sites include the full suite of interactive street maps, driving directions, and integrated local business search. This has been a global effort with Google teams in Paris, Hamburg, Milan, Madrid, New York, Mountain View, Kirkland, Sydney, London, Dublin, and Zurich working together for much of the past year to build a truly "local" product.
Accompanying this release, we have greatly improved high resolution imagery coverage for Europe in both Google Maps and Google Earth. Check out the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Olympiastadion in Berlin, and the Grand Canal in Venice.
To give you a preview of what's to come, we've also rendered street maps for many other countries in Europe. Developers, you can incorporate these maps and imagery into your own websites using the free Google Maps API Version 2.