Google has launched Helpouts, an intriguing video assistance service, where experts charge for providing their advice on almost any topic you can think of.
At this early stage, there are around 1000 different experts talking on everything from cooking vegan dishes to maths tutoring. Prices are set by the individual providing advice, and range from absolutely nothing to as much as $240 per session.
Health advice will also be on offer through Helpouts, but Google will conduct background checks on the person providing advice – which sounds sensible. And, those wanting to receive advice must allow Google access to their Calendar, so notifications can be sent when sessions are available.
Helpouts is an interesting addition to Google’s search services, which relies on sending curious parties to websites, while now it can connect them to actual, real people. It’s not only private individuals either, as brands are already signing up so they can use Helpouts to sell their products. In the U.S., Weight Watchers and cosmetics firm Sephora will be joining, and in the UK, Dixons and a private tutoring company will be among the first corporate users.
Google has provided a web interface for Helpouts, but it’s also available as an app on Google Play. This means you can view the live video help on your phone, which will add another dimension to Helpouts, particularly in situations where a laptop won’t be much help, such as repairing cars. It’s free to download and you can find it here.