I totally agree, for all the reasons stated above. I never understood why a really useful component browser had to be turned into something really awkward.
I'm not a professional; I'm a hobbyist. But I don't want to have to sift through hundreds of poorly designed door components just to find a quality one for my dream house. I'm always happier with tighter search results (i.e. matches must contain ALL of my search terms rather than some of them). Tightening the search results by marking which ones are "high-quality" or "low polygon count" would be great also.
My big problem for many years was that I lived in southeast Asia. I couldn't rely on having my internet up when I wanted to insert a component. I had already downloaded component collections for just such a situation. But the newer SketchUp versions made the local collections impossible to find while I was forced to sift through thousands of models that were not meeting the need.
If you design your program with the assumption that users have constant high-speed internet, you limit your user base to a much smaller set of countries in the world.
(I bumped into a guy in a Jakarta coffee shop who was using SketchUp for professional work.)
I also agree with the statement that there are different audiences with different needs. Can't this be addressed with clever use of tags? For example, "high-def", or "builder-ready", etc.
I love SketchUp, but in this specific instance, I don't believe SU has "nailed a happy medium". I'm less happy with the component browser than I used to be...