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Google Helpouts will offer real-time help with real people

by Mark Tyson on 21 August 2013, 16:15

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)

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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.

HEXUS Forums :: 7 Comments

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Oooooh - they need one for independent adjudications for roleplaying games! I'd happily get paid to tell some 4e rules lawyer that they're wrong :D
What an awful concept. I work in Health and Fitness and I can already see the egotistical, opinion driven, science & fact bereft variety of ‘expert advice’ that would be on offer. Just call it Google + Cowboy DIY service. Please save us all from the world wide web and it's host of instant experts.
20% is robbery, it should be a minimal service charge only regardless of the amount of time that gets charged not a percentage. This is just like the exuberant fees ebay charge for what really is just a middle man service that should be free (except a basic service charge) to all members of the public since they are the ones really driving it. It costs them no more to service small transactions as it does big ones and yet they take a bigger slice according to the size of the transaction. Google is truly the ultimate incarnation of the bourgeoisie.
The fee that Google get from me will be 0%.

For a start, it needs a Google account. Hell will freeze over first.
Not a bad idea: I can finally just email a link to all the people the missus/my parents work with when they tell me that they need technical help.