Google reportedly testing Helpouts, a live video marketplace selling skills and services

helpoutsGoogle is reportedly working on a new feature which will allow individuals and businesses to sell their skills and services to consumers via live video. Think language lessons, fitness classes, IT support.

An unnamed source told TechCrunch the real-time commerce platform, dubbed Helpouts, has been in testing at Google since June. It’s not certain if a release date has been set, but if the trials go well, the suggestion is it could be rolled out as early as next month.

The feature would, if you hadn’t already guessed, utilize Google’s Hangouts platform and would likely integrate with Google Wallet, the company’s virtual wallet and payment service.


A leaked screenshot – one of many – shows categories for computers, education, food, health, hobbies, repair, and other, accompanied by a blurb that reads: “Helpouts is a new way to provide real-time help over video chat anytime, anywhere. Turn your skills into a business by offering instant help or scheduled classes.”

Buyers will be able to use the Helpouts website to schedule an online class, or, if the seller is available at the time, start a lesson immediately.

The Mountain View company has reportedly teamed up with various brands for its internal testing phase, including One Medical Group, Sears, Weight Watchers and Alliance Frances. And rather than launch without any individual tutors on the site, it’ll reportedly have a number of merchants and instructors ready and waiting for your booking, “from yoga gurus to fitness teachers”.

There’s no word on the kind of fees Google will charge sellers, which could involve anything from a free ad-supported format to a percentage of each class sold to an annual payment.

As TechCrunch points out, the concept behind Helpouts is nothing new, and competitors in the same field – LiveNinja, Powhow, and eBay-operated SecretGuru among them – will doubtless be less than happy to learn of Google’s plans. But will the Web giant be able to offer something new and appealing in the space to persuade merchants and consumers to clamber aboard its new service? It looks as if we won’t have to wait too long to find out.


Apple is still selling iPhones in China despite being ordered not to

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Home Theater

Rock out, dance, or just nod along with the best Bluetooth speakers

The market is saturated with wireless audio solutions fit for any and all circumstances. Check out our picks for the best Bluetooth speakers available, whether you'll be listening in the kitchen or on a mountaintop.

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.

Give Rachael Ray a run for her money with these 13 recipe apps

You don’t have to be Gordon Ramsay to make a killer meal, you just need an easy to follow recipe app. We’ve compiled our 13 favorite cooking apps for Android smartphones and iPhones, including countless recipes to suit any taste.

5G: Why everything is about to change

Curious about the many ways 5G will change and enrich your life? Here’s our guide to all things 5G.

Firefox 64 helps keep your numerous tabs under control

Mozilla officially launched Firefox 64 by placing new features into the laps of its users including new tab management abilities, intelligent suggestions, and a task manager for keeping Firefox's power consumption under control.

PewDiePie supporters hack printers, hope to boost his subscription numbers

In an attempt to garner more subscribers for their favorite vlogger and secure his status as having the most YouTube subscribers, PewDiePie supporters claimed to have hacked thousands of printers worldwide.

Email take-backsies! Gmail's unsend feature is one of its best

Everyone has sent a message they wish they could take back. How great would it be if you could undo that impulsive email? If you're a Gmail user, you can. Here's how to recall an email in Gmail.

Costco members can cut up to $200 off MacBook and iMac price tags

Costco is discounting MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops by as much as $200 as part of a members-only sale. It also has deals on select MacBooks and iMacs, with optional Apple Care in most instances.

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.

Our favorite Chrome themes add some much-needed pizzazz to your boring browser

Sometimes you just want Chrome to show a little personality and ditch the grayscale for something a little more lively. Lucky for you, we've sorted through the Chrome Web Store to find best Chrome themes available.

Chrome fights manipulative sites that don’t allow you to hit the back button

Have you encountered a webpage that won't let you hit the back button? Someun scrupulous websites employ what's known as history manipulation, preventing you from hitting the back button, but now Google Chrome will be fighting back.
Smart Home

Holiday shopping: Here are the final dates for Amazon’s free shipping promotion

If you're shopping with Amazon this holiday season, then time is fast running out if you want all of your gifts delivered before December 25. Here are the dates you need to know ...

Google to expand New York City presence with $1 billion campus

Google is following in Amazon's footsteps with plans to expand its presence in New York City. The company announced on Monday, December 17 that it's investing $1 billion on three sites in Lower Manhattan for more than 7,000 workers.