Google Releases Sketchup for All. Google has released a free version of SketchUp (video and tutorials), quite possibly the coolest and most intuitive 3D authoring tool. An added bonus of SketchUp is it's integration into Google Earth. Google has also provided a 3D Warehouse for the posting of your models, which can be downloaded into either application (SketchUp for editing, Earth for displaying). Kind of gives you some insight into their plans for using Google Earth as an Automotive (Honda and Volkswagen) GPS service. (Sidenote: how long until this is seen as a threat to national security?)
Google's big announcement due on Wednesday. Google is due to make an announcement on Wednesday of a new service focusing on presence and communication. The word on the internets is that it will be a chat and IM client. Google already has a chat client in the picture sharing app, Hello, which is available in both standalone install and as part of Picasa. Possible screenshot of the app is here, with additional coverage at BigBlueBall and Neowin. The prevalent consensus seems to be that it will be (or be based on ) Jabber, (PDF) with the core innovation being the use of XMPP.
Google Earth: Zero Hour +1 If Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith was responsible for a productivity loss of $600 million (for people playing hooky), then the release of Google Earth has to be responsible for at least $100m. So the next question is...what's next? When you think about all the Google Maps hacks, from craigslist, to GasBuddy (offline), Chicago Crimestats and Transit Maps, London Traffic Cams, various sight seeing sites, NYC Subway Stops, plus integration with BlogWise, Terraserver, Host-IP (broken?), Yahoo Traffic, and the US Census, you might wonder what else could be integrated into gEarth? Things I'm hoping for? How about integrating historical markers, daytrip resources, factory tours, social demographics (like Nationmaster), politics (fundraising, election results, registration, polling place location, election irregularities), mapped to do lists, real-time weather and traffic, things that aren't there anymore, custom atlas creation, IMDB movie location shoots, tighter integration with topographical maps, WiFi access Points, a News Attention Index, shipwrecks, Job Searches, and tighter integration with the USGS. As shown in the gEarth interface (left hand side, first one in "Layers"), their online community is already working on using, improving, and customizing gEarth's new features, including some updates (Caution, requires the integration of *.kml file, *.eta, or *.kmz files.)