Reading between the lines in my posts, you can see that this is a strategy of which our team is aware. SketchUp Free will likely work well (someday) in this kind of implementation. With a few caveats related to typical OS related operations like open, save, print, keyboard access, &etc. Resolution of those issues, as well as some others related to online collaboration through a platform like Trimble Connect, are what has kept us from launching an official implementation yet. In other words, I recognize the opportunity, know there are some implementation details which are still hard to resolve… and I don’t have any new products to announce today.
I (emphatically) welcome any hacking about with this kind of thing to explore capabilities and opportunities for yourselves. Please just remember that we do have some specific language in our Terms of Service against redistributing SketchUp without our permission- for reasons which are probably apparent to you guys anyway.
The 3D Model Viewer in the Details page of 3D Warehouse is a version of SketchUp Free which does allow you to embed our viewer in other webpages (or standalone applications). Eventually, we will wrap that in a fuller-featured embed API similar to something like YouTube’s API. I bet you could come up with some clever implementations around that as well? Maybe there’s a standalone desktop viewer for a model you’ve hosted on 3D Warehouse?