Last month, Google released Sketchup, but I hadn’t had a chance to sit down and play with it until this weekend. Sketchup is a CAD-like 3D drawing tool that anyone can use to quickly churn out 3D models.

You can add textures and shading to your model but what’s particularly interesting about this program is that it allows you to geo-code and export your models into Google Earth. When you’ve finished your drawing, you can also upload it to Google's 3D warehouse to share with others.

Just for laughs, I created a virtual ‘For Sale’ sign. (You can see it here) Then, using the Google Earth interface, I placed the sign on a satellite image of my house’s front lawn. Now, if you were feeling particularly creative you could recreate your entire house in three dimensions and share it with the world. Contemplate the realm of possibilities there.

Now, while it’s particularly hard to divine what Google’s ultimate strategy may be, I feel like I’m slowly starting to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Here are some of the milestones I see so far:

Anybody else beginning to see a pattern emerging here?

I predict that eventually Google Earth will become an online representation of the offline world. Albeit one that can be indexed, searched and plastered with advertising.

In the meantime however, there are many ways these tools could help the real estate professional. More about that though in a future post.

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