Will Sketchup Pro follow Shop to the web

I am a devoted SUP user since 10+ years. After releasing SUP Shop I am really worried that SUP Pro will follow and become a web product, losing main features like plugins and many other things. This makes me hesitate about my entire future use of SUP for the first time. What is the most recent opinion of the SUP community about his? What is the intention of the Trimble/SketchUp?

(I know there are threads about this, though I can’t find them. Maybe someone could help me move this topic to the right place)

Trimble has indicated that they intend to keep SketchUp Pro around with new versions. Forum opinion is that these updates will continue to be yearly, likely appearing mid-November.

Remainder is my personal speculation:

Sketchup Pro, purchased at $699 US and maintained (including any newly released updates) for $120 US/year is a good business model, ensuring a steady income stream as long as one continues to provide value for the yearly maintenance.

SketchUp Make, in isolation, is not a good business model unless they can find advertisers to make it adware.

Trimble has likely found that Make was too close to Pro in capability such that many people use it commercially (despite the non-commercial only license), thus depressing potential sales of Pro.

What to do? Do no more development on Make, but keep the last version (2017) around for people who can’t rely on an internet connection for their new product: SketchUp Free.

So now we have Pro as the most complete package, Make as an option for off-web use, but not maintained, and Free - a more limited version, but web based.

Hmmm. How to give Free users a glimpse of the power of Pro, and give them a version that is OK for commercial use? Enter Shop! Priced significantly less than Pro, but featured enough for serious use. Biggest drawbacks compared to Pro: No Style Builder, No Layout, but most critically, no Extensions!

Of these 3 drawbacks, it’s the no Extensions that is most difficult, currently likely impossible, to provide with a cloud based SAAS.

So I expect the SketchUp Universe going forward will be:

  • Make: Frozen in time - no commercial use
  • Free: Basic modeling, web based, no commercial use
  • Shop: Very Capable (once they iterate a bit), web based, commercial use OK
  • Pro: All capabilities, not reliant on the web, commercial use OK.

If Trimble manages a version of Layout that’s web based and somehow manages to let the existing extension code base to work on a web based SAAS, then all bets are off.

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Ever since my SketchUp was first launched I’ve been worried that the long time goal is to get all of SketchUp moved into the web. I sincerely hope the desktop version is never discontinued. Even if the web version gets all features it still has a very cumbersome/unconventional UI. And as long as douments are saved in the cloud it is very fragile.

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for many business, at least enterprise customers a cloud-based software is a definitive no-go because of concerns regarding intellectual property issues sothat they likely will leave the ship if the desktop version would vanish.


Or…alternatively… a private server?
Future thoughts:

each with own libraries, access to extensions etc.

I hope you haven’t gotten that impression from anything we’ve said or done on the SketchUp team. We’re committed to delivering SketchUp Pro, running on your desktop computer, for a long time. In fact, that’s the flagship product in our product line.

That said, the web is a compelling new platform and there are some new kinds of features and services that we can only deliver to you with help from the internet. You’re already using some of them every day, I bet. 3D Warehouse, for example.

The future you should look forward to with SketchUp is one in which we leverage the best available technology (desktop, mobile or browser) to help you reach your 3D modeling goals most efficiently. Sometimes, the best available technology is the web. Sometimes it is your desktop operating system. Why not assume we’ll use both rather than replace one with the other?


My observations: 1) the discontinuance of SketchUp Make updates, 2) the introduction of SketchUp Free, and 3) the introduction of SketchUp Shop, are what make me wonder if desktop-based SketchUp Pro’s days/months are numbered. Maintaining support for two quite different platforms can be costly (speaking as a professional software engineer for 37 years). I hope the SketchUp team can see how easy it is for some of us outside viewers to imagine the discontinuance of SketchUp Pro as a desktop-based application, given recent history.

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I don’t think your conclusion follows the available data, but I acknowledge that you’re worried we’re not being completely transparent with you. It isn’t really possible to prove that we aren’t going to do something, so all I can do is to emphasize my previous statement that we are not planning to move SketchUp Pro exclusively to the web at this time.

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