Helpouts: Google’s video-based e-commerce platform is for real, now looking for experts

helpouts googles video based e commerce platform is for real

So here it is then, Google’s next big idea – an idea that may or may not one day be swept away in one of its famed ‘spring cleans’. We’re talking Google Helpouts, a video-based marketplace for skills.

News of Helpouts first hit the Web almost exactly a month ago, though at the time there was no official word from Google. That came today.

Looking for sellers

The new feature, which’ll utilize Google’s Hangouts platform, will allow both individuals and businesses to offer their skills and services to consumers via live video. Note the word ‘will’. It’s not up and running just yet. What the Mountain View company needs first are the aforementioned individuals and businesses to populate Helpouts’ category pages, which currently include Home & Garden, Computers & Electronics, Health & Counseling, Nutrition & Fitness, Fashion & Beauty, Art & Music, Cooking & Education. To this end, the Web giant is currently sending out invites to experts. You can register an interest by submitting your name and email address here.

Google put up a new website on Tuesday explaining how sellers can get involved, with policies and support pages offering a bundle of information about the forthcoming service.

If you’re a seller wanting to get on Helpouts, you’ll first need to submit a listing detailing your area of expertise. Once your listing has been reviewed, a Google rep will get in touch via video to learn more about you, to offer advice on creating the perfect Helpouts listing, and – perhaps most important of all considering your ability to communicate with your customer depends on it – to check the quality of your video feed.

Google will let you know via email if your listing has been accepted. If it’s rejected you’ll be told what you need to change. Once through the process, you’ll appear on the Helpouts site, at which point customers will hopefully come flocking to your bookings page where they can schedule an appointment.

20 percent

You can offer your service for nothing if you’re feeling generous, or alternatively you can try to make a few bucks by setting a lesson rate. Transactions can only be made through Google Wallet, and you’re right, the Mountain View company hasn’t set up Helpouts out of the goodness of its heart – it’ll take a 20 percent cut each time you sell a lesson, thank you very much.

So what do you think? Will this be a hit or a miss for the Web giant? There are of course plenty of similar services already out there, but Google’s huge reach and high profile will certainly give Helpouts a fighting chance.

There’s no talk of when the service might launch; presumably the company’s waiting to get a decent number of experts on board first.

Product Review

Amazon's new Echo is smaller and cheaper; firmware upgrade improves sound

The all-new Echo is shorter, cuter, and comes with several different color and fabric choices. Our Amazon Echo review reveals that while the acoustics initially weren't great upon release, a firmware upgrade has improved the sound.

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Smart Home

Amazon Alexa added a skill for Butterball’s annual Turkey Talk-Line

Just in time for Thanksgiving Day meal planning, now you can say "Alexa, ask Butterball" for access to Butterball's Turkey Talk-Line. Alexa will connect you to Butterball experts who can answer any cooking questions.

Want to set up your own virtual private network? Here's how

Take a look at our walkthrough for creating a virtual private network and why it is beneficial for more than just increased privacy and security. We go step by step, detailing how to set up a VPN in both MacOS and in Windows 10.

The plug-and-play PC Classic joins the retro console bandwagon

Gaming company Unit-e is creating the PC Classic, a plug-and-play retro console that will come bundled with around 30 of the best DOS games. The system will support gamepads and keyboard setups.

Is your PC slow? Here's how to restore Windows 10 to factory settings

Computers rarely work as well after they've accumulated files and misconfigured settings. Thankfully, with this guide, you'll be able to restore your PC to its original state by learning how to factory reset Windows.

Mozilla’s built-in price-tracking extension makes it easy to shop with Firefox

Mozilla has heard those worries about Black Friday shopping, and is now introducing a new set of experimental extensions which aim to make it easier to find the best deals online.

Best Buy’s pre-Black Friday deal takes $330 off the 2017 Surface Pro bundle

If you don't need the latest Surface Pro, Best Buy has a heavily discounted rendition of the 2017 model available in its pre-Black Friday sale. For just $1,000, you can get the tablet with a Core i5 CPU.

If you've lost a software key, these handy tools can find it for you

Missing product keys getting you down? We've chosen some of the best software license and product key finders in existence, so you can locate and document your precious keys on your Windows or MacOS machine.

Buying a laptop on Black Friday? Don't make one of these rookie mistakes

Shopping for a laptop on Black Friday can win you some excellent deals, but you should also avoid making common mistakes. Check out what to avoid when buying a laptop for Black Friday and what danger signs to be wary of.

The Mac mini's price jump has crept into iMac territory. How do they compare?

Apple announced a long-awaited update to the Mac mini. Thanks to the updated specs and increase in price, it's begun to creep up to the base model iMac. In this guide, we now put up the specs on the newest refreshed Mac mini against the…

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.

Ray tracing not an option until it comes to all graphics cards, says AMD

Although Nvidia already supports the ray tracing feature on its high-end new GeForce Turning series of chips, AMD seemingly hinted it doesn't feel like ray tracing is ready until it comes to all level of graphics cards. 

Turn your desk into a command center with the best ultrawide monitors

Top of the line ultrawide monitors have the deepest curves, the sharpest colors, and the biggest screens on the market today. You’re going to want one, sooner or later. So why not sooner? These are the best ultrawide monitors you can buy…