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Google Buys @Last, Developer of SketchUp

Google's on an acquisition trend, having just purchased Writely, an online word processor, likely to compete with the Microsoft Office monopoly. And today, @Last Software, developers of the excellent 3D/CAD design software SketchUp, announced their acquisition by the search engine giant. The developers have posted a FAQ which should answer many of the burning questions SketchUp users might have. Recently, @Last developed a Google Earth plug-in that allows you to view your 3D models directly in their real environments inside Google Earth.

I wonder if this is another move for Google into releasing their own operating system, as has been rumored for some time now. They're actively acquiring desktop applications, resources, and programmers to make such a move. A free Google Linux, or even a suite of Google Web 2.0 applications that run on the platform independent Internet, would be an interesting competitor to Microsoft's stranglehold on the desktop marketplace.

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