For those who prefer assistance the first time they try out something complicated or wished someone would overlook their work for a better idea of how to get things done, Google has a gift.
The new app – Helpouts was launched by Google on Tuesday to give its huge customer base an opportunity to get “Real Help from Real People in Real Time”. The app enables users to engage in a video chat similar to Google Hangouts with experts to help them solve their problems in real time.
The app currently lists 8 helpout categories namely –
- Art & Music
- Computers & Electronics
- Education & Careers
- Fashion & Beauty
- Home & Garden
The app enables teachers or experts in any of these categories provide free or paid services to people who are looking for such help. The payments can be done on a specific task basis, on per hour / per minute basis or for a set time frame.
People can now get expert cooks to take a look at their cooking or assist them in conjuring up a lovely fondant, truss a joint of meat and roast a lovely turkey for thanksgiving. Google has already signed up over 1000 providers for services like Music lessons, Yoga instructions, cooking demonstrations, homework help for students and basic home repair tips. Users can also share screens and learn complicated programming languages, tips on how to use Photoshop etc.
Though there are only 8 helpouts on the app currently, many more are scheduled to be included soon.
Amusingly, the biggest competitor to the Helpouts is Google itself! YouTube (acquired by Google) has millions of how-to and DIY video on any subject under the sun. The clash here is whether you require only a one-sided rendering of information or an interactive medium for better understanding.
“Sometimes all you need is facts, and that’s fine. Sometimes you need somebody to look over your shoulder, somebody to show you the way,” Udi Manber, vice president engineering at Google said.
The benefit of a live video chat where the expert can take an actual look at the problem and then give advice or teach cannot be undermined at any time.
In an attempt to give internet users the flexibility of getting professional advice in a convenient and efficient manner, Helpouts have also become a venue for brands to flaunt their products and give their clients a firsthand experience. Cosmetic chain Sephora gives free services to clients on using their make-up wares and helps them choose the right products. Other companies that have signed up are Rosetta Stone, One Medical and Weight Watchers.
However, the healthcare category is the one with immense potential. The Setup would enable users to get direct counseling and other expert medical advice by just video chatting. Since, healthcare is a very sensitive issue, Google has taken measures to make it safe and secure by complying with HIPPA norms and running credential checks. Currently there are no provisions to get helpout sessions covered but insurance, however, Google believes it would soon be an integral component of Modern Health Care.
Besides the website, Google also has a Helpouts Android app. Helpouts require users to have a Google + account to sign up, and payments are routed via the Google Wallet. Helpouts also gives providers the flexibility to choose how they would bill their clients. It could be an hourly session or quick tips and advices that are clocked per minute.
Another prospect that Helpouts show is reaching out to people in remote locations. People with skills and talent can make money through Helpouts without moving from their homes. All they would need is an internet connection to connect with people and give expert counseling.