Trimble Navigation buying SketchUp unit from Google

BOULDER — Google Inc. signed a definitive agreement April 26 to sell its Boulder-based SketchUp unit to Trimble Navigation Ltd. for an undisclosed amount.

The SketchUp team, which works on 3-D modeling software, will remain in Boulder, Google Boulder site director Scott Green said.

Green declined to disclose the number of employees that would be changing companies, citing Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) corporate policy.

“We won’t talk numbers, but a substantial portion, a large majority of the SketchUp team, has joined Trimble, and they are going to work from a Boulder-based Trimble office,” Green said. “It’s a really good thing for the team, and it’s a really good thing for Boulder.”

Trimble (Nasdaq: TRMB) is based in Sunnyvale, Calif., and, according to the press release, its products are focused on applications requiring position or location, including surveying, construction, agriculture, fleet and asset management, public safety and mapping.

Google will retain a significant and expanding presence in Boulder, where its team works on Google Apps and Google Wallet, a mobile payment platform.

“Google’s commitment to Boulder is just going to continue to grow,” Green said.

SketchUp has deep roots in Boulder. The software was developed by @Last Software, which was founded in Boulder in 1999. @Last Software was acquired by Google in 2006.

The agreement is expected to close this quarter, pending review and a legally mandated waiting period, according to a release from the companies.

Boulder officials learned the news just before it was made public, economic vitality coordinator Liz Hanson said.

The city has been assured both companies will have a presence in Boulder and looks forward to working with a new primary employer, she said.

“We’ll be happy to work with both Google and Trimble and help with their transition,” Hanson said.

Google employees who will make the transition to SketchUp seem excited by the news, Green said. The product will have a greater prominence in Trimble than it does in the ever-growing tech behemoth that is Google.

“It’s a very good match. Essentially SketchUp, in Google’s arms, is a smaller product than in Trimble’s arms,” Green said.

Trimble cited the product alignment in the release.

“Trimble has already created the de-facto standard for field data models and project management tools for our key markets. SketchUp, together with these existing capabilities, will provide a stand-alone and enterprise solution that will enable an integrated and seamless workflow to reduce rework and improve productivity for the customer,” Trimble vice president Bryn Fosburgh said in the release.

Trimble and Google also formed a strategic partnership in which the companies will collaborate on running and further developing SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse, an online repository where users can find, share, store and collaborate on 3-D models, the release said. The companies will work together “for the foreseeable future,” it said.