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Sketchup-ur-space Magazine - June 14

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Rendezvous with John Bacus on Trimble's Acquisition of SketchUp

Hello John! Welcome to the space of SketchUp. Now everybody is much worried regarding the Trimble's acquisition of SketchUp from Google. Can you please tell us in brief regarding the story behind the acquisition?

Hi Debarati! Thanks for inviting me here to answer some questions. While the details of the acquisition are not being made public, it is important to know that the SketchUp team regards it as a good deal for everyone. Trimble really understands what makes SketchUp great, and they want to help us to keep making it greater.

What will be the future of Ruby Script? Will the Ruby API get more features and maintenance?

The Ruby API has been one of SketchUp's greatest success— we are absolutely continuing to support our developer community. Here's what Scott, our lead Ruby guy on the SketchUp team, has to say about it:

Will be the existence software of Trimble becoming more SketchUp like or vise versa?

I think that the most likely future is one where we learn from one another. We are coming into Trimble with an enormous and very dedicated user community that depends on SketchUp every day. There are certainly things that we have learned over the years that are greatly valued by our friends at Trimble. And in the other direction, Trimble's knowledge of construction technology is without peer in the industry. It feels like a win-win scenario to me.

Will it be helpful to get the full topographic tool in SketchUp?

It is possible that Trimble will help us to improve topographical modeling tools in SketchUp— certainly this is an area that they understand well. But it is too early to make any kind of definitive statements to that effect. We haven't closed the deal yet ;-)

Will there be any problem to upload the 3D SketchUp model on Google Earth? How will you conduct the projects like populating the Google Earth?

Under the terms of the deal, we will maintain a partnership with Google that keeps the 3D Building pipeline open for user submissions. The process will continue to work exactly like it does today.

Is there any possibility of the integration of SketchUp engine with Trimble's current solutions in its engineering and construction field solution?

I think this is a likely outcome. Bryn Fosburgh (VP of Trimble) has made some positive statements to that effect in this interview.

Will SketchUp fragmented into more specialized editions for AEC industry?

It is possible that we'll release specialized products built on SketchUp's engine, but we wouldn't do so at the expense of the wants and needs out on the long-tail of our user community.

In future can we tell that SketchUp make possible "3D for everyone"?

The future is still ahead of us, but I think the SketchUp team are pretty pleased with how much we've accomplished so far. 30 million unique activations over the last year makes SketchUp the most widely used 3D modeling tool in the world— at least according to any metrics we know about so far. On the other hand, there are many more than 30 million people in the world... most of them still don't use 3D modeling tools at all. We have a bit more work to do ;-)

Will there be two types of SketchUp? One is for AEC industry and other one is for 'woodworking, geo modeling to moviemaking'?

We have two versions of SketchUp today: SketchUp, our free modeling tool that can be used by anyone for anything and SketchUp Pro, our professional modeling and documentation tools that are mainly used by folks in the AEC industry. We'll certainly be continuing to offer those versions in the future.

Will there be anymore basecamp for SketchUp?

I certainly hope so, though I don't have any dates to announce today. We always have such a nice time at Basecamp and it is wonderful to meet in person with people who love SketchUp as much as we do. We'll have more to say on this subject following the close of our acquisition.

You are with SketchUp from its @Last days. Please tell us the evolution of SketchUp in your own eyes.

In many respects, SketchUp today is still exactly the same product that Brad Schell and Joe Esch invented together so many years ago. The basic ideas of edge-based modeling, push/pull and the rest of the simple modeling set are all still with us. We have many more users and the work done by those folks is increasingly complex. But we're still the same team working on the same problems every day. SketchUp and the idea of building a 3D modeling tool that anyone in the world can use has really been a "labor of love" for us. I can't imagine working on anything else, honestly.

In future how will we see the development of SketchUp?

Trimble have committed to investing in SketchUp's future, and the clearest way to express that is by growing the development team. We'll be stepping up efforts across many areas in the weeks, months and years to come.

Please convey your message to the SketchUp community regarding the acquisition on behalf of SketchUp team.

It bears repeating that the SketchUp team is excited by this deal— we think this is a good thing for our product and our users. We're all staying in Boulder and we're all remaining focused on the mission that got us where we are today. The folks we'll be joining at Trimble are great people too— smart, down-to-earth and practical minded. Just like us. I think we'll do great things together.

What is your opinion about Sketchup ur Space? Please give us some advice.

I'm fascinated by SketchUp's increasingly global reach and particularly excited to see a native SketchUp community growing up in India. I look forward to learning from you and to seeing what you are all doing with SketchUp. I hope that SketchUp ur Space can become a centerpiece for the Indian SketchUp user community!

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