@Last, the developers of 3D modeling tool SketchUp, which is intended for use by architects, game developers, and the general public, has been purchased by search engine giant Google, as part of the company's recent acquisitions spree.
The SketchUp software, which had already been integrated into Google Earth as a plugin, will likely see further integration into Google's modeling and physical location searches.
A note on @Last's website explains how the deal came to pass: "We got to know a bunch of Googlers while we were building the Google Earth Plugin for SketchUp, and it quickly became apparent that we could really stir things up together," said @Last founder Brad Schell in a news update.
"At first, it was kind of hard to imagine; after all, we'd been blazing our own trail for so long. But after we kicked it around awhile, it started to seem right. One thing led to another, and here we are. This is one of those wonderful win-win situations; it would have been impossible for us to feel good about this acquisition if we didn't feel our culture, our users and our mission would be in good hands."
The Google-owned version of the SketchUp software will be available for free, as opposed to the $495 license fee for previous usage. A more advanced version will also be available for $20, with a professional edition retailing for $400.