You’ve probably heard of Google+ Hangouts, Google’s messaging and video conferencing service. Now the Mountain View internet giant has come up with an idea to let ‘experts’ share their knowledge with people, using a similar Hangout format, outside their usual Hangout circles and also get paid for their time.
Help strangers at the other end of the video stream, for cash
Google headlines the upcoming Helpouts service as “Real help from real people in real time.” It is further briefly described as follows; “Helpouts is a new way to connect people who need help with people who can give help, over live video, anytime, anywhere.”
The service isn’t live yet but Google is currently looking for the people who will power the service when it starts up – there’s no point starting up a service with no service people... If you are interested in the concept and think you might be one of the people who may fit this service offering you can go to the Google Helpouts page now and register your interest. You might get an invitation code and be part of the initial roster of Helper-Outers.
Not just computer experts
Most HEXUS readers will probably be thinking about the possibilities of selling their computer expertise, if they are thinking about using this service at all. However Google is casting its nets far and wide for a diverse range of skills to be on offer when the service launches “Ever wanted to share cooking recipes, speak a new language, or provide health tips? Helpouts allows you to share your passion, expertise, and more through live video, right from your computer or mobile device!” The Helpouts service is further described; “If you’re a professional or an expert in a particular area, share your knowledge with people who want to learn from you by giving a Helpout. Scheduling is simple and handled right from Helpouts. You can allow customers to schedule a session based on your availability. Since Helpouts are hosted via Hangouts video calls, you’re not tied to an office and you can connect with people around the world.”
You will need a Google+ account and a computer equipped with a video camera, microphone and decent broadband. If you have all these things and have some expertise to share “Helpouts takes care of all of the setup and maintenance associated with delivering your services - from payment, to scheduling, reputation management, and customer acquisition.” The Verge reports that Google will want to see qualifications before some services are allowed to be offered. Overall it sounds a like it could be a way for some people to make quite a good living if their Helpouts expertise is in demand.
20 per cent fee
Helpout ‘experts’ can choose to charge by the minute, per session or can give out their expertise for free. From any money made Google takes a flat 20 per cent fee. The Verge notes that other companies have set up similar help and expertise sharing markets but Google’s name, scale and infrastructure could easily sent it into first position almost straight away. As yet we have no indication of an actual or estimated launch date for the Google Helpouts service.