What is the point of layers?

I feel that layers are useless since I expected layers to separate faces assigned to X layer so the other faces on Y layer don’t interact with the faces on X layer. This is not the case, instead, groups and components do that. Since layers are mainly used this way in almost every other program and something else does the functions in place of the layer feature. Other than separate groups of faces into categories, what exactly is the point of layers?

Layers allow you to control the visibility of sections of your model.

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Will that also mean the exported model’s visibility will be affected or is this a cosmetic thing?

Yes. So you can export images of a house with the roof off, for example.
Or quickly change all the windows or doors etc etc

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“Layers” are the visibility tags you apply to groups and components. Groups and components is what nearly all other programs call layers.

I prefer to disagree. I don’t know of any application that would call a group or a component a layer.
Some examples:
In AutoCad groups are called groups, components are called blocks. Objects remain separate whether they are on different layers or not.
In Revit groups are called groups, components are called families. It has no layers at all.
In Archicad groups are called groups, components are called objects (to make really usable objects, you must master the GDL programming language). Walls connect even if they are on different layers.

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Layout, Inkscape, Photoshop and Illustrator to name a few. I suppose I should have been more specific since drafting software often differ. Also I should have been more clear that they aren’t the same but server the same purpose and are the closest to what layers are in these programs.

Those are all 2D drawing or pixel-editor programs, and in 2D the concept of “Layers” has an intuitive basis. In a 3D setting I don’t think that term makes sense, and view it as an unfortunate name choice by the original SketchUp designers (others are welcome to different opinions, mine is based on the enormous number of times newbies are confused by SketchUp’s “Layers”).

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Confused Noobs do not make SketchUp incorrect or infer a bad choice by the creators. SketchUp is a 3D modeling program and not a graphics application and seem to follow the CAD convention of layers and their intended use. Whether a 2D plan or 3D model, a group, a component or a block is a group, a component or a block.

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