Google SketchUp Pro 6Google today released Google SketchUp 6 and SketchUp Pro 6 which is available as a free upgrade to all SketchUp (version 2, 3, 4, or 5) users [purchased from @Last].

New users can download either the free version of SketchUp 6 or the full-featured trial version of Google SketchUp Pro but the trial time is limited to only eight hours of usage.

The new features in SketchUp version 6.0.277 include :

Photo Match - Create 3D Model from a still 2D Photograph.

Styles - It's like themes you have in Microsoft Word.

Watermarks - You can protect your drawings by placing logos or other graphics that blend with the SketchUp drawings.

Fog - Add atmospheric haze to a model with the new fog display.

3D Text Tool - Creates text in 3D for inclusion in your models.

The other nice feature is the native support for 3D Warehouse and Google Earth. You no longer require to download a Google Earth plugin for integration with Google SketchUp Pro 6.

The downside - there's no support for Windows Vista yet though the Microsoft OS is just two weeks away. The .NET 1.1 Framework is required even if .NET 2.0 or 3.0 is already installed. The offline Help system is removed and you need to be connected to the internet for accessing Sketchup 6 help.

Download SketchUp 6 | Download SketchUp Pro 6 | SketchUp 6 Release Notes [Thanks Ogle Earth]

Related: AutoCAD Reacts to SketchUp-Google Earth Integration

TimeLine: Google Acquires SketchUp -> Google Releases Free SketchUp -> Is Google Innovating ?

Update: To upgrade from SketchUp Pro 5 to SketchUp Pro 6, you might have to email your old serial number of version 5 to Google Sketchup support and they'll send you the new registration key for SketchUp Pro 6.

However, some valid SketchUp pro users are reportedly having trouble with this process. They are seeing an error box saying - "Sketchup License Registry - You entered an invalid key. Sketchup cannot run as a full version under these circumstances."