Oh... My... God. Let me take a second now to pick up my jaw from the floor... *snaps in place*.
Any new Google aquisition is interesting. When they bought Deja.com they created Google Groups, then they aquired Neotronic and created GMail, and Pyra Labs to get Blogger. Just a few days ago they purchased Writely, which leads me to beleive they'll create an online office suit pretty soon.
But they've gone and done it again this morning, by purchassing a company called @Last Software, creators of SketchUp. And this is not only and interesting software to discover, it's an amazing revelation of ideas that all of a sudden is rushing to me.
SketchUp is a beginner-oriented 3D design program, aimed at Uncle Bob and his cousin, so that anyone in the world can just pick up their mouse and create amazing 3D places. From what I've seen it can be used to do anything ranging to a new staircase to a complete manufacturing building to create anything. Basically, the limit is your imagination.
Now, one detail makes it really interesting. It can export it's 3D stuff in Google Earth format... Think about it for a second... Think again... Read this and think harder.. about what this means...
Got it yet? No? Ok, here's the deal. You download Google Earth, and you check the "3D buildings" options in the map. You see that most of your city has allready been represented, but your house isn't there! You download SketchUp (which is now free since bought by google - hopefuly) and model your house in a few hours, upload it to the Internet on the google earth servers, and everyone sees it!
Now, a model of Earth complete with buildings might not strike you as extremely useful. But when you start thinking that maybe this model could be used in other software (for example, Simulation games)... Imaging MS FlightSim with a completely realistic city to visit. A wargame using true city maps where you can use the interior of buildings as much as the exterior. A map of houses for sales complete with architectural designs of the house...
The possiblities are endless. Just check out how cool the software is by viewing their flash demo of the software. It's just amazing!