Google Launches Helpouts. The Video Help desk

Imagine waking up to hear about a tech giant creating a new market for it’s product. Very much like what Apple did with the original iPad. Today Google announced the launch of its Helpouts service, where experts can help and train customers who are willing to pay for the service. Helpsouts does have a few payment options, but we’ll get to that later.

Google has been trying really hard to get ahead in the education field lately, and that decision makes sense when we think about what they’re mission statement is.

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Helpouts is based on Hangouts which a pretty cool service. But apart from the really geeky, I don’t know anyone else that uses the service. This is the perfect way for Google to leverage on the infrastructure of an already existing application and just extending its functionalities to make it more appealing to the general public. Not only that, but Google has finally found a way to make real money from the Hangouts service.

What is it?

Helpouts allows professionals and experts to share the knowledge and expertise with people who want to learn from them. Think of it as a private on-demand tutor that will magically appear on your screen in a matter of seconds. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, watch the video below to learn more about Helpouts.

Payments and Pricing

The pricing is set by the session holder. They have four options for payment:

  1. Free
  2. Per Session
  3. Per Minute
  4. Per Session and Per Minute

I actually like the fact that Google has allowed free training, instead of being greedy and forcing trainers to charge the end user. While most experts are going to be charging a fee for their services. I wouldn’t be surprised to see hobbyists alike hosting free sessions for the community just for the love of it, and that will hopefully create a powerful learning environment for everyone.

For all the paid sessions, Google will be taking  20% out of the final fee, but you shouldn’t concern yourself with that if unless you’re planning on signing up as a trainer. If you are planning on becoming a trainer, keep in mind the service is only open to select few countries right now. Unless you are a US resident you may be out of luck for time being. Although users from all over the world can start a session with an expert given that they have a Google+ and Google Wallet account.

 Final Thoughts

I believe the service is absolutely useful and can’t wait to see how it turns out and whether or not it ends up finding its way to our class rooms. In addition to training users to carry out certain tasks, the service provides remote controlling functionalities which can allow for the expert to troubleshoot your computer from the other side of the world. It’s still early days, but the concept and business model seems strong enough to support the demand.