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Google introduces Helpouts, a Hangouts-powered live assistance site
If you are looking for expert assistance online, there is no shortage of existing options. While some of these ‘help’ sites use a Q&A format, others offer email, voice or even video-conferencing as a means to communicate with an expert. Still, most of the current offerings are quite limited in terms of infrastructure or potential reach. That’s where Google comes in with its newly announced ‘Helpouts’ service.
Like other expert help services, Helpouts is designed to connect people to experts with knowledge across a variety of topics, including home and garden, education, cooking, computers and electronics. So what sets this apart from similar services? The key difference is that Google’s offering leans on the existing Google+ and Google Hangouts infrastructure.
The key difference between Google Helpouts and existing alternatives is that Google's offering leans on the existing Google+ and Google Hangouts infrastructure.
While the service isn’t live just yet, Google is currently asking interested experts to head over to the Helpouts website and sign up. Of course Google isn’t just taking just anyone who claims to be an expert. The company will require a copy of your qualifications before it approves your application.
It’s worth noting that the expert help won’t necessarily come just from individuals, Google will also allow small, medium and large businesses to offer their services through the platform.
Once an expert is signed up, Google will allow them to offer their services for a per-session fee, per-minute or gratis. Aspects such as scheduling, rankings, payment and client-matching will then be handled completely by Google. In exchange for its services, Google takes a 20 percent cut of all expert earnings.
That might sound a bit steep to some, but it really isn’t. There are a lot of costs to think about here, including the bandwith, servers, marketing and the fact that Google is providing an 100% moneyback guarantee for anyone not happy with the help they received.
So what do you think, is this something that you’ve been dreaming of ever since Google Hangouts first went live? If so, you might want to sign-up now to receive an alert notifying you when the site finally goes live to the general public.