November 6, 2013
Google Offers A Helping Hand With New Helpouts
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Google quietly launched Helpouts, a one-on-one how-to video extension of its Hangouts. The new portal offers fee-based experts in areas such as arts and music, computers and electronics, cooking, education and careers, fashion and beauty, fitness and nutrition, health, and home and garden.Experts can offer services via video to give internet users information to accomplish goals, whether it is fixing a leaky faucet, cooking a gourmet meal or determining an exercise regime and lifting weights properly. Google is asking experts such as teachers, personal trainers and doctors, among other specialists, to offer their services.
All experts will go through a vetting process and in some categories, such as health care, the search giant will require experts to be licensed and qualified through a third party hired by Google, the Wall Street Journal reports. It is not known what the vetting process will be like, if any, for other categories such as computers or fashion.
It is up to experts to set a price for Helpout sessions. Several experts listed services for $0.99 per minute or $9.00 per Helpout while others listed services for rates between $0.48 per minute and $2.00 per minute. One nutritionist is advertising services for $30.00 per Helpout. There are a number of experts listing free sessions on the Helpout website. Google will handle payments though Google Wallet.
Google will collect 20 percent of the revenue, for most video sessions. However, the search company is not collecting a commission for health advice at this time, the Washington Post reports. At launch, Google has more than 1,000 participating merchants, websites and health care specialists who have cleared background checks.
Helpouts "represents Google's latest attempt to play an instrumental role in helping people manage their lives," it said in the Associated Press article published by the Washington Post. The Helpouts service helps supplement Google's search engine. One complaint has been that answers are not often available on a website, Udi Manber, a Google executive overseeing the new service, said in a statement.
"Sometimes, you need someone to look over your shoulder. Sometimes you need someone to show you the way," Manber said.
While there is not a language category listed on the Helpouts website, Google signed Rosetta Stone as a launch partner.
"What attracted us is [Google's] huge audience," The Wall Street Journal quoted Rosetta Stone spokesman Jonathan Mudd as saying.
Language learning is expected to see growth as the market for digital products that teach English will double to $2.6 billion between 2011 and 2016, according to a forecast from Ambient Insight Research.
Aside from language, online learning is also a growing market. Universities and other learning sources are increasingly posting curriculum online, opening a new category of Massive open online courses, or MOOCs.
Google quietly launched the Helpouts service on Monday; however, word of Google testing the new Helpouts was reported by TechCrunch back in July.
Service is planned to be available on any device including smartphones. Currently it will run on Google's Android software and is not yet available for the iPhone or mobile devices running on different software.