History of Sketchup

Matt Donley Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized 2 Comments

(4-14-1: This article is out of date)


Sketchup was created to be a 3D modeling program that is powerful, but easy to use. Most people think it was originally created by Google, but actually, it was first brought to us by @last Software, a tech company co-founded in 1999 by Brad Schell. With an original release date in August 2000, Schell and his team developed Sketchup as a 3D modeling tool for Architects, designers, and filmmakers.

At the A/E/C SYSTEMS Fall 2000 exhibit hall hosted by Digital Media Net, Sketchup won the award for Best New Products or Services and was subsequently featured on www.digitalcad.com and www.aecnewsroom.com. Digital Media Net described Sketchup as follows:

SketchUp from @Last Software has been driven by the growing need among design professionals for a more intuitive and accessible 3D modeling program. The core of SketchUp is an interface in which the user simply draws the edges of the desired model in 3D space and the software automatically “fills” the shapes to create 3D geometry.

After the successful launch of Sketchup, @last wanted to allow people to be able to place the models they’ve created in Sketchup into Google Earth. They collaborated with Google to develop a plug-in for Google Earth, to allow people to “geo-locate” their models in Google Earth.

The Acquisition

As a result of the collaboration for the Google Earth plug-in, Google was so impressed with the work of @last software and purchased the company in March, 2006.

In an interview with the Daily Camera, Schell stated, Sketchup’s 2004 sales were $5.5 million and growing. We can only imagine how much Google paid up to purchase @last Software. It kinda makes me wish I had invented something Google wanted to buy from me. But a man can dream, right?

After the acquisition, the 70 employees from @last kept their jobs, but in return became employees of Google.


Sketchup 6@last was selling Sketchup for $495, but Google wanted to make Sketchup available to anyone so they released it for free. On December 14th 2007, Sketchup 6 was released.

A Pro version of Sketchup was still available for $495, which included more exporting and importing options, and the introduction of Google Layout, the answer to creating 2-D presentations of your 3-D models. But the main functionality of the software was identical to the free version.

Google has released a total of 6 maintenance updates for this version, and stopped supporting this version in March 2010.Sketchup 6 updates can still be downloaded from Google’s website.

Sketchup 7Version 7 was announced on November 17th, 2008, and brought with it the introduction of dynamic components. Dynamic components was a big leap for Sketchup, allowing models to have properties assigned to them. These properties can change many aspects of a model on the fly, making your model interactive.

Sketchup 8Sketchup 8 is the most current version of Sketchup. Released September 1st, 2010, it includes many refinements and some new features. The Pro version includes the “Solid Tools”.

http://engineering.colorado.edu/news/cue/2006/alumni/schell.htm – 2006 announcement of Google’s acquisition of @last software and Sketchup.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SketchUp – Wikipedia Sketchup
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/03/new-home-for-last-software.html – 3/14/06 Official Google Blog announcing acquisition of @last software.
http://it.tmcnet.com/news/2006/03/15/1460736.htm – Infotech Spotlight, report on the acquisition of @last software.
http://www.digitalcad.com/Htm/Articles/2000/11_00b/digicad.htm – Community Choice Award for Sketchup.
http://sketchup.google.com/gsu6/relnotes.html – Sketchup release and maintenance notes
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/introducing-sketchup-7.html Google’s announcement of Sketchup 7.
http://sketchupdate.blogspot.com/2010/09/announcing-google-sketchup-8.html – Google’s announcement of Sketchup 8.

Comments 2

    1. Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *