Are you a tutor looking for more gigs? Or maybe you’re sometimes stuck on something and could use the 1st-hand advice of an expert. Helpouts is a new service Google launched today which acts as an online marketplace for video tutoring and consulting. The pricing structure allows broadcasters to charge by the minute, hour, or a flat fee. For those concerned, Google stated it will not be allowing “adult” content in its Helpouts, rather the purpose of Helpout sessions are to be purely educational and/or healthily beneficial.
Some Helpouts, such as Weight Watchers, are available for free. Many other large companies are jumping on the band wagon and offering free Helpouts designed for classroom-like audiences. However most hangouts are provided by individuals and have a reasonable price tag attached.
For people that are forgetful The default Helpout settings record each session and allow users who purchased it to replay the session at their leisure. A quick look at the consumer agreement reveals that Google includes a 100% Money Back Guarantee which states that if a Helpout wasn’t helpful it can be contested and ran through Google’s quality assurance desk to determine whether or not a refund will be granted. Also apparently some Helpouts which contain confidential information (such as health services) are unable to be recorded and Google does not monitor the content.
At launch Google has signed on roughly 1000 broadcasters spanning over 8 different service genres. When you consider that the largest provider of How To videos on the web is currently YouTube, this is really a low-risk experiment for Google to take. If Helpouts fails, YouTube is still there for people that would prefer always-free help, even if it isn’t available in real time.
Google Helpouts is only available on the web (via browser) or as an Android app. It will be interesting to see if Google is able to work out a deal with Apple given that Helpouts revenue structure relies on taking a 20% cut of the fee that service providers charge for video sessions. If it can’t or Google isn’t willing to give Apple a cut, then we may not ever see Helpouts natively supported on the iPad.