Thursday, June 16, 2016

I stand corrected. Google never really cared about the Global AEC industry.

And that is sad. Even sadder than my initial statement, copied below from my last blogpost. Following it, is the response from an anonymous reader in the know about all things Google.

"After all, even giants like Google once enthusiastically targeting the global AEC industry (buying, then further developing Sketchup) have given up on it as something far too IT-immature and ruled by anti-innovation bigots to be worth spending efforts on."

“The way you are summarizing it here is not quite correct. Google never targeted the global AEC industry. SketchUp was initially designed for designers to help visualizing their ideas by a small company called @last. Google bought it because SketchUp's user interface is very intuitive. Even amateurs were able to pick it up in no time. That is what Google was after: they needed amateurs to contribute 3D models to one of their major projects at that time: Google Earth.
As technology has improved over the years, Google is now able to generate it's 3D models via 3D image capturing, which made SketchUp obsolete for them. That is why they sold it on to Trimble.

Sketchup Pro was more of a side business for Google to maintain it's already established professional user base they inherited from @last.
But claiming that Google once "enthusiastically targeting the global AEC industry" is not right.”

So, let’s accept that I was not correct in claiming that Google had lost interest in (what is one of the biggest of industries in the world) but that they never actually targeted it in any meaningful way. What does that say about Google and what about the industry?
Is it a proof that Google strategist actually saw through all of the fluff that Global BIM really was and could tell from the outset that it was never going to work and as such not worth the trouble embracing it, keeping up with it, integrating with it?

Or was it the industry? So entrenched in its own importance and commitment to the sophistication of its chosen digital future that Google did not even made it to the trusting circles of possible global BIM enablers, of the likes of Autodesk, Trimble and the others?

Not in my court to answer the questions any way – am too small, insignificant, too much on the fringes.
I do wonder though the ‘why’s’ still, maybe no longer in a na├»ve, ‘lost opportunities to do something great’ ways but in more along the lines of ‘surely there is a hell of a lot of potential in that Google treasure box to rattle this stuffy industry out of its smugness’!

A cursory Google search brings up an article that suggest there could be:

“Secret Google Project Could Transform Construction Industry

According to Globes, a report from Genie's development team, addressed to Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, describes the invention as a cloud-based collaboration platform with "planning applications to help architects and engineers in the design process, especially for skyscrapers and large buildings. The platform includes planning tools of expert architects and engineers and advance analytics and simulation tools." 
The report also emphasized Genie's potential to transform the conservative construction industry, one of the most profitable and the most wasteful, by making it more efficient and environmentally friendly at the level of design, construction, and maintenance. The report suggests the invention could save 30-50% in construction costs and 30-50% of the time spent between planning and market; moreover, it could generate $120 billion a year.”

But then, I see the article was written in 2013 – three years on and still not much of an impact from it….Had it really got off the ground, even I would have got a whiff of it by now…