Google has recently launched Google Helpouts, a new way to get advice or help from the internet, but this time from the experts.
What do you typically do when you run into an issue with anything technical? What do you do when you have question about a DIY, a health-related concern, or just a gardening question? The typical way you go through in situations like these would be to search on Google, which will eventually result you landing on YouTube watching some amateur videos — if not lucky to discover an expert-made video — that may or may not have the right information you are looking for.
Google wants you to find the right information when it’s important to you. And therefore, the search giant introduces Google Helpouts.
Imagine Google Hangout, where you can connect with experts and ask for advice, walkthrough, or talk face to face (via a pair of webcam, of course) to help you with things. Only two things are new about Google Helpout. 1) The person you’re connecting to is an approved expert in the field you’re seeking help for; and 2) You are going to have to pay for it.
Why it pays to pay for help
We all know that the internet today is full of trolls. Them apart, sometimes people with little knowledge put up a video tutorial on YouTube with blurry footage and not-so-clear voice. Ironically, these videos can show up on the front page of your search result and you wouldn’t know the quality of the video until you actually play it.
Also, especially in the case of health-related questions, you need to be a hundred percent sure that the person giving you advice or answer is knowledgeable enough to do so. And the only way you can make sure that is if there’s a place to go to where only certified professionals are able to answer.
That’s exactly where Google Helpouts comes in. Though the service isn’t free, it makes sure that you don’t get wrong information from some random people who put up a video on the internet just for the sake of getting views.
Another reason you should care about Google Helpouts is: It can save you time. When you’re in the middle of a complex technical project, say a WordPress development for example, you might not find quick answer on the internet. Unless there’s someone else on the internet who faced similar situation or had similar question, you are going to have to post it on forums and wait for someone to see it and help you out.
This whole process can take a lot of time. Now that you have Google Helpouts, you can just join in with an approved WordPress expert, ask and get help live within minutes — depending on how complex the question is.
This might make you pay a little, but in the long run, it saves you a lot of time making you able to meet your deadline and take on more projects from the time you saved.
How Google Helpouts Work
Getting help from Google Helpouts is simple. You figure out what you need help with (we assume that you already know of!), head over to Google Helpouts, choose from the relevant department from the left, and browse through the list of available experts.
Experts can charge you on a per-hangout basis or per-minute basis. For example, the screenshot above shows you the Helpouts page for Ted Moskalenko, who charges $15 flat rate per Helpout or 50 cent per minute. Depending on what is most effective for you, you can choose between the two.
Also, you can schedule your Helpout for a later time if you need help later or the expert is not available. If they are available and not in another Helpout, you can in most cases start a Helpout in an instant.
Payment is done via Google Wallet. If you’ve ever shopped on Google Play Store, you’re already good to go. If you haven’t, you might need to set up your Wallet account before you can go ahead and start the Helpout.
A better internet
Google always promised that it is working to make people’s lives better. While this does seem a nice contribution towards making the internet a better place (if there are experts available, amateurs may lose the temptation to share whatever they have little knowledge in and try to learn more and be an expert themselves), it also gives us a glimpse ahead into the future where most of the “great” stuff on the internet will no longer be available for free.
Google will cut 20% off the payment you make to the expert who helped you out, resulting in 80% of the payment going into the wallet of that expert. Since Google presumably needs highly educated expert to join Google Helpouts as a helper, the free tutorials, both text-and-image and video, aren’t going anywhere from the internet anytime soon. People will still search on Google and then on YouTube for help before opting to pay to get help from an expert.
But when it counts, and time is of the essence, it’s really a life-saver to have Google Helpouts as an option to get live help from real-world experts.
What is your take on Google Helpouts? Will you be paying to get expert help from the service?