By Antone Gonsalves
Google Inc. on Thursday launched a free version of the 3D modeling software the search engine acquired when it bought @Last Software last month.
Google SketchUp, which is free for personal use, includes simple tools for creating 3D models of a variety of items, including houses, sheds, decks, home additions and woodworking projects. The software comes with a plug in for Google Earth, so items can be posted on the service, which provides satellite views of geographical locations.
In addition, Google launched 3D Warehouse, online storage for work created in SketchUp. The service also enables users to search and share models.
Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., plans to continue selling SketchUp Pro 5 for professional designers. The software costs $495.
Google bought @Last Software, based in Boulder, Colo., in March for an undisclosed sum. The purchase was expected to add value to its mapping platform through integration with Google Earth. The technology is expected to eventually find its way into other Google services as well.