2013-08-21 00_08_40-Helpouts by Google

Have you ever been stumped by a problem that's clearly outside your wheelhouse? Perhaps you've even fantasized about being able to just dial up an expert to pick their big meaty brain about the problem. That's exactly what Google has just announced with Helpouts. It's a cunning play on words, you see. It's like a Hangout, but it's used to help people. Google is clever.

2013-08-21 00_04_46-Helpouts by Google

The idea behind Helpouts is that folks with a certain area of expertise will set up an account with their skills, qualifications, availability, and rate. Then users in need of a helping hand will be matched with the right experts in a live video chat. The service will be tied into Google+, but what isn't these days? Experts that charge will take payments through Google Wallet, and Google will get a 20% cut. If a user isn't happy with the service, Google is promising a 100% money back guarantee.

According to the support pages, Helpouts will work with desktops, Android, and iOS. Experts will also be able to build their offerings like a multi-level course with additional materials to go along with the video chats. None of this is live yet, but you can request an invite for when Helpouts gets up and running.

[Helpouts via Craig Tumblison]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Nathan Fletcher

    Please sign me up for this, it would be a great way for me to make money in my free time, plus I enjoy doing it. Good guy google again.

    • Vibrunazo

      Don't do it. Last time I let a Creeper in, he exploded my chest. They only look like they wanna help you, but they only really wanna blow your shit up.

      • QwietStorm

        Is that a Minecraft reference or something?

      • Luan Cristian da Silva


  • arafsheikh

    "Google is clever" +1

  • Drew

    I hope this includes screen sharing. I'd love to make some extra cash helping people with computer issues.

    • kishore kemisetti

      Hangouts does include screensharing

  • Martin

    This is so damn good! I would love to help people with everything I can.. Making money from it just makes it better :-)

    • Nathan Fletcher

      The funny thing is that I would do it without being paid. Already do on tomshardware and xda, doing this just makes it better.

      • Leandros99

        Exactly. Same for me here (mostly in forums, though, but it's the same without video).

  • Ben Baranovsky

    I'm going to be a college student starting tomorrow. An income from sitting in my dorm assisting others is awesome. I would get to interact with people constantly and help them do what they want! It's a win-win considering hiring someone to come over is crazy expensive.

    • smitty

      dude, you'll have the rest of your life to ride helpdesk if you want to.

      In college, you get to go out and meet people and do stupid crazy things with them.

      Please don't spend that time being helpdesk.

      • Ben Baranovsky

        Haha I appreciate the concern and advice. Don't worry, I'll be going out quite a bit! But in my free time it would be nice to make some money which is definitely not for beer.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

        Someone's gotta pay for the fun! Helpdesk is a good way to get money to go out and have those life experiences.

    • Alex

      I'd guess that there will be thousands of people with the same idea as you (particularly with computer based skills, if that's the angle you're going for). It will be interesting to see how they let people differentiate themselves.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

        I'd guess Google will allow rating of helpers. That way, the top rated will rise to the top and the idiots will sink to the bottom of the search.

        • Brittan Dopp

          This is something I would really like to see happen. If people can review helpers, it would aid consumers in finding those that can genuinely help them with their problem, and reduce the potential for scams. It would also make highly reviewed helpers more valuable, potentially increasing their compensation rate.

          I think this is an amazing tool for small businesses.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

            Heck, even if it doesn't increase their rate, they would still benefit from more volume. But I'm betting they'll be able to set their own rates, and the market will bear what the market will bear. Hopefully the really GOOD helpers will be able to charge more AND experience high volume.

  • Tower72

    20%...doesnt that seem a bit high?

    • dhruva

      as opposed to?

      • df


        • Colin Kealty

          Well when you put it that way, you may have a point...

        • jared

          That sounds much more reasonable.

    • esper256

      You have to keep in mind thats not pure profit. It has to absorb the credit card fee % (and this will be a card not present transaction), refunds, servers, bandwidth, and the inevitable law suits and litigation that will arise from asshats being asshats.

      Compare to what Kickstarter takes for their limited role in things and it doesn't look outrageous.

    • spydie

      way high... 3% would be the norm

  • etche

    If i'm not mistaken, Taylor from A&M wrote a post some time ago with this exact same idea...

    edit: here it is..

  • cy_n_ic

    Hmmm i have no idea how female masturbation works... Helpouts!!

  • gollyzila

    I was confused for a bit as I read it as "Hell-pouts".

  • Stranger From a Far Coast

    Prostitutes can promote their body on the helpouts and provide live cam. That's cool!

  • kushanth

    How do i sign up to help others?

  • Chris Stubbs

    Uh oh. Hopefully the corporate landscape doesn't take notes from this app. "In order to work for our customer service department you must have our corporate helpout installed. You will be on call all day everyday."

  • Vladimir

    This is where their Aardvark acquisition took them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

    I came up with a very crude version of this strictly for sign language interpreters back in the late 2000's. Unfortunately, the tech and my business acumen weren't up to snuff to turn my idea into a money maker.

  • Andy Stetson

    OH, you're a n00b and want me to show you how to R&R your phone, because you are too lazy to research? I'm happy to help, just fill my gWallet!

  • Jose Arce

    How can Google prevent Google+ users from doing this for free within a Google+ community? I think it defeats the purpose of communities...

  • Vijaya Bhaskar

    Its a copy of liveninja.com