Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is testing Helpouts, a new service that will “connect people who need help with people who can give help, over live video, anytime, anywhere.” Helpouts is connected to Google+, the company’s social network.
The first place people go online with a question is often a Google Search. Instead of directing queries to websites like About.com and wikiHow, however, Google hopes to capture much of that traffic for itself, giving answers and instructions to its search engine users in the form of Helpouts. Helpouts will offer free or paid experts and will utilize the video chatting capabilities of Google Hangouts. The new service will allow answer-seekers to connect with experts who will be ready to provide advice on anything from “Fashion & Beauty” to “Health & Counseling.”
The Helpouts service is not yet live, but Google says it's now inviting experts to have their qualifications verified so Helpouts can be ready for consumers to ase it on day one. Experts will partner with Google to “make money sharing their skills and knowledge with the world,” and the company will take a 20 percent platform fee for paid Helpouts.
Google is recruiting experts in “Home & Garden, Computers & Electronics, Health & Counseling, Nutrition & Fitness, Fashion & Beauty, Art & Music, Cooking and Education.” Google requires qualifications for all categories, and a third party will check the certificates or licensure for experts who provide a medical service as regulated health care professionals. Consumers interested in discussing a topic with a Helpouts expert will be able to schedule an appointment based on availability.
More information about experts can be requested at Helpouts. Potential experts can have their qualifications evaluated online so they can be a part of Helpouts when it launches "soon."
Thomas Halleck is a tech reporter for the International Business Times, covering Google, wearables, product reviews and mobile news....