There are basically three way’s of collaborating:
(lead) architect works on a model, can split the model in smaller pieces (Components) and can provide these little SketchUp models to others. Needs reloading when done.
This is probably the current situation.
Yes, you can use extensions like reference manager or download/save through various Cloud services like dropbox/google drive or even a network server.
Known problems arise when opening a file directly from such a location, even if you have a file stream service active.
Backup or versions are provided by such (backup)service
The lead architect sets up the main model and decides what parts should be modelled by others. This can be done by creating volumes in a site model, set up the project in the cloud, invite the team and create todo’s there.
You would need to save the file before publishing to the cloud (!) I am not sure why this is, probably some form of safety in case the first upload goes wrong. The lead architect can choose to save it on the desktop the first time for quick access, or in a document folder locally and then upload the model to the cloud manually, or click the ‘Sync now’ button in the sync app, but you would have to change some settings in Trimble Connect Sync, for it will look and create another (hidden) folder structured as the projects in the cloud in the Local AppData with the normal settings.
With SketchUp, you can open ‘recent’ models, but you would have to be aware that if you open that locally saved file, it might not be the latest version due to sync settings. That’s why I recommend to just open a file and then goto [menu] File > Trimble Connect > Open model when internet is good or if you don’t have internet, open the latest version locally (When did you publish and sync the last time?)
Either way, you have to be conscious about it
The team members open SketchUp (name it and save the file and then go to the Trimble Connect extension manager and import that main model as reference. Once a volume is occupied with a ‘true or real’ building or room, they would then ‘Publish’ their contribution to the cloud, so that it would have the right placement once viewed in the 3D viewer. No need to save locally once they start publishing, because their model is now ‘connected’ to the cloud project and saving it locally would actually create another instance of that model if it is not saved in the location where Trimble Connect Sync is getting the models from ( somewhere in the AppData)
If the internet connection allows it, always publish so that model gets ‘versioned’ in the cloud. If you do save and replace the existing file (in the AppData Trimble connect location!), only the latest version will get uploaded if you trigger a sync.
Of course, manually uploading saved versions (with the same or other name) directly to the cloud will be saved as versions.
Reference models are tagged with special reference tags. When publishing the smaller parts, it won’t be part of their model.
What’s important is that you can create comments, shar proposals with the client and take in account their comments and have an actual history of it. ( “But last week you said you would like to have the dining next to the kitchen?”)
You can set up revisions as well. If you decide which option to continue, you can add that to the revision and ask approval for it to the client. Or only share revision models to other collaborators (engenineers)
3. Real time
Working together in a realtime environment is currently not available in the SketchUp Universe (it does in Tekla and Revit)
Think Google docs where you can edit a document realtime.
One should take in mind that while this sounds promising, you still would have some kind of structure or set of rules (who get's to draw a wall here? etc.) Or it just evolves in a shooter game (bang! your're gone:)
It can be fun, though, but shooting a few text characters in a text document is a different ballgame than messing in the 3D model (see all the multiple thread discussion)