Google announced Helpouts back in August, but the search giant is officially launching the service today. Helpouts uses Google’s Hangouts video chat service to connect experts with people wanting to learn a new skill by offering tutorials over the internet. Google says that it will be used for things like home repair, guitar lessons, and cooking.
Helpouts will allow experts to make a little money on the side, or they can offer their services for free by volunteering. Browsing through the current offerings, we found that a lot of the Helpouts were free, but there were others that charged $10, $20 and even $30 per Helpout session. There was even one for $150 per Helpout session that would help you out with case interviews.
Right now, the service is live with a small group of partners, including Weight Watchers and One Medical, but anyone can become an expert and offer their services. The only condition is that those interested will be providing a full background check, and users will be able to rate the experts they work with to make sure that the list of experts that Helpouts has remains the best. Of course, it goes the other way around as well; experts can block users.
There are currently eight categories that Google has available so far, including Home & Garden, Computers & Electronics, Health, Fitness & Nutrition, Fashion & Beauty, Art & Music, Cooking and Education & Careers. Experts and those seeking expertise will be able to trade money through Google Wallet. However, if the user receiving the help isn’t satisfied with the service, Google says they’ll provide a 100% refund.
Each expert is identified with their Google+ profile and they each have an intro video that introduces themselves and tells you a little more about them so that you can sort of get to know them before you commit to a Helpout session with them, which can be extremely helpful as far as finding a good expert.
For now, Helpouts is only available in the web browser and on Android. It’s not said whether or not we’ll see the service come to iOS and OS X, considering that it might get a little confusing as far as Google’s 20% cut with Helpouts payments, but Google said back in August that the service would come to iOS, so we’ll see how that works out.