Since you’ve asked for feedback, here’s mine:
I suspect this will most hurt those who have committed to SketchUp, but have not yet made enough progress to warrant commercial use or simply the cost of potential commercial use. I worked in SketchUp for years before bringing it to my boss and saying, “hey, I’ve developed some skill in this software and I think we could use it here.” and getting permission to purchase a commercial license. It’s been an amazing thing for our organization.
Early on, I don’t think having to use this browser based version would have slowed me down. I didn’t even check out extensions or dynamic components for years.
SketchUp does need a lower priced commercial use option and I think the browser version could be a great path forward for that. Ideally I would like to open up SketchUp use to my colleagues where I create and maintain the assets and environments we work within, and they can essentially just move things around and make notes. That functionality isn’t worth $700 a person. I’m under the assumption that such use is allowed at $10/mo for Trimble connect though, but I’m not sure if even that’s the case. Regardless, I need to dummy proof that environment with dynamic components, so SketchUp browser version just isn’t there yet for our organization.
To me this is a needed step, so you can focus efforts on this browser based version. Similar to other browser based software, I do think you need an offline option, like Google Apps for Business. It’s designed for connected online use, but you can still knock out work on a plane.
I’m excited to see what’s coming with SketchUp Free, but I’d really like to see something like follows:
SketchUp Free - developed as is, a nice solution for those new to 3D modeling, as I was years ago. It would have been fine for me then.
SketchUp Commercial User - browser based, around $10 a month, able to make use of scripts and dynamic components and with offline capabilities. Hobbyists could use this and be happy, but many commercial users would also find this great for their colleagues who may benefit from interacting with a model, but will never be developing a model. It would be great if Pro users could then setup environments for these users to keep things simple, like locking things to the Z-axis with dynamic components, etc.
SketchUp Pro User - no matter what I’ll be a SketchUp Pro user forever now. I have almost a decade of time into this software and I’m psyched about your new reporting functionality. I need software that can make use of the specialized hardware purchased for development of 3D assets and renderings. More and more though, I need to include colleagues in my process who have no interest in 3D modeling. I’m good with the Salesforce model, a small per user fee for folks who need access to something, but perhaps just for an approval workflow, etc. I survive at the moment because I don’t need approvals, etc, but as we grow and I want others in the same environment, I’ll want to engage in that process, but won’t want to spend $700 for a person that for the most part uses dynamic components I dummy proofed for them and can do their entire job with move tool, dynamic component options and reporting.
Basically I think this is an exciting and painful step forward. It would have been great if it could have been done with access to scripts and dynamic components from the start, but that will take time. I do think it’s needed though, but certainly that functionality warrants the right to charge a fee. Folks are starting to use your software in some weird ways. I want to use it as a configure, price, quote utility, thus why I’m excited about your new reporting functionality. So basically I want to make it really really really easy for a colleague to create a layout that automatically quotes a program, builds a pack list and provides a rendering sales tool. My goal though is to require little to no learning from that colleague. They would just use the move tool and dynamic component dialogues. It would be great to have that middle ground solution for folks who basically develop an environment for non-modelers to still make use of SketchUp in their workflow.
Also, it would be easy for you to take on CPQ companies with your new web-based interface now. Do you want to spend $125k implementing a solution with someone else? Or leverage your existing models and some dynamic component info to get the same functionality for a much reduced cost?