Whenever you’re stuck on a problem, don’t you wish you could get help, right then and there, from someone who really knows what they’re doing? With its new Helpouts service, Google is helping you use technology to receive just this sort of guidance exactly when you need it.
Helpouts are a way to receive over live video help with a problem you’re having right now, like fixing your garage door or retouching a photo, to help learning new skills like speaking conversational French or learning guitar. Helpouts are a way for you to connect with exactly the right person at the right time so you can reach your objectives.
Through Helpouts, Google aims to allow people to use technology to help each other in ways never before possible. In a blog post Google writes:
Our goal is simple: help people help each other. We want to use the convenience and efficiency of the web to enable everyone, no matter where they are or what time it is, to easily connect with someone who can help.”
Search and Book Qualified Experts
On the Helpouts site you can search for and sort experts based on their qualifications, availability, price, ratings and reviews, and connect with them instantly or book in advance. Search for experts in a variety of categories, like cooking, fitness and nutrition and home and garden. Once you’re ready, just click the “Start Helpout now” or “Schedule for later” button.
Well known brands like Sephora, One Medical, Weight Watchers and Rosetta Stone are already on Helpouts.
Get Help in Real-Time
Talking with an expert through Helpouts is similar to talking to friends through Google Hangouts. Not only can you talk face-to-face, but you can also share your computer screen, collaboratively edit a document or record your Helpout. And if you’re unsatisfied by your Helpout, Google offers a full money back guarantee. In the future Google plans to increase the number of people giving help on Helpouts and to expand its Helpout categories. “We hope that the efficiency, convenience and global reach of Helpouts will make people’s lives easier in the long term,” the company wrote on its blog. Interested in giving Helpouts? Sign up.
All in all, Helpouts seem to an innovative use of video chatting capabilities and it will be interesting to see if it catches on. Helpouts will certainly be useful to those working on deadlines, possibly late at night when friends and advisors are offline. Helpouts can also aid people living as expats gain access to help unavailable where they’re residing. I also see Helpouts being a great tool for freelancers who want to gain a larger client base. One question remains, though: can virtual help ever be helpful enough to replace help in the real world? In a demo video (below) Google shows people receiving help with guitar playing and yoga. While it may be convenient to receive this sort of one-on-one help on demand from the comfort of your home, I hope Helpouts don’t eventually discourage people from meeting in real life!
For more information on Google Helpouts, check out the video below: