05
Nov
unnamed (4)

It's been a long time coming, but Google's distributed video advice service is finally live. Helpouts is a video chat service with a Google backbone, built on the interface and servers of Hangouts. But this is no mere chat service: it's designed specifically for users to connect with and learn from experts in their respective field. You can access the videos from the web or, naturally, the Android app.

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Since you'll be connecting with individuals and companies that are ostensibly experts, you'll have to pay them for their time, either on a minute-by-minute basis or in a session fee. (Some are considerably more expensive, while a very small amount are free.) At the moment it looks like most of the initial Helpouts partners are offering sessions at about a dollar a minute, in such wide categories as math tutoring, modeling advice, or guitar lessons (lots of guitar lessons). If you're interested in offering your own Helpout sessions, you'll have to be vetted by Google - click here for the signup page. At least one Android Police writer has jumped through the hoops and found it surprisingly easy to get verified.

At the moment Google is offering a money back guarantee for your paid Helpout sessions. If you're not satisfied with your money spent, they'll refund it, with a few clauses in the fine print. There are some other things to be aware of as well - customers must be 13 (though I imagine parents paying for sessions, especially tutoring and lessons, is acceptable) while a Helpout provider must be 18. Each session is recorded and stored unless the customer opts out, and any Helpouts session that includes a user under the age of 18 will always be recorded, for obvious reasons, though those that fall under the "Health" category may be excluded. A Helpout session that's flagged as "Abusive" by the customer will begin recording immediately, regardless of the previous opt-out.

The app itself is pretty simple, with a Google Now-style card interface and a basic directory of providers and Helpout topics. Unfortunately you'll need to be running Android 4.0.3 to use the app, but anyone with a laptop should be able to use the web service. This is an interesting move for Google - I'm keen to see if it catches on. I could easily see Helpouts booming into a healthy cottage industry... but I could also see it fizzling out and being cancelled in a year or two.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • David Jones

    With Google recording all these Helpouts, It'll be interesting to see if they're looking at how the questions and answers work for specialist fields to aid their knowledge graph & Google Now and where this will go.

    Okay Google, teach me to cook?

    • Tony

      Cooking.. $300 (for that money I'd enlist the help of the local college instead, but I'm sure someone will pay it).

  • frafri

    I am offerin a helpout for computer services :) in spanish

    • Jeremiah Rice

      I'm sure that will be a very in-demand niche. You could do well out of it.

      • frafri

        Thank you. I hope so, it has not been accepted in the helpouts yet, i have to "meet" with an expert first and make sure i have everything i need .
        Im new in this forum. love it .
        great job guys!!

        • Ben Baranovsky

          I'm also still waiting for my meeting. I hope it's soon!

        • Zaatour36

          let us know how that works

          it would be nice if I can get paid for something I like, since I already offer it free for friends and family

          • MSined

            You can set a price per minute or by session.

      • Mostafa

        can you plz add apk file of it.

    • evolutionx1

      Good luck, man.

    • usaff22

      ¡Muy bien! Sera útil.

      Did I get that right? :p

  • Mandeep Singh

    US only?

    • Ryan Steddy

      It seems to work in the UK but the prices are listed in dollar$

    • yihtang

      Works for Canada too.

    • MSined

      I'm from Canada and my listing is live.

  • Ali Rahimpour

    Is it just me but I think that the screenshots look photoshoped ^^ look at the status bar and the overflow menu, the padding look weird...

  • Derik Taylor

    Waiting to get my tech help Helpout live...

  • Charles Sweeney

    Looks like you have to be invited.

  • http://pixelpaperskin.com/ Hoang Cao Nghia

    Anyone have invitation code? Pls send me: foggyflute@gmail.com (I will teach basic doodles on helpouts if able to - not sure they will allow people from Vietnam yet).

    Will give free portrait sketch for code :) - search my name on google image for sample.

  • Morten Ulveseth

    Says not eligible for my Gnex, N7 and N10... :(

  • Sven Andresen

    Not available in DK :(

  • Rovindra Singh

    The Android app is gorgeous, just hope this service takes off as it seems like it be something very useful in a pinch.

  • Milind Shah

    i got the promo code, but not available in India :-/
    Edit: doesnt matter, im not 18

  • http://dabuxian.com/ Dabu

    Not available in your device's country. I'm tired of your bs, Google.

  • Andy Stetson

    "I see this being very successful and google cancelling it in a year or two"
    -Fixed.

  • Santeri

    Works well here in Finland. Good work Google!

  • http://youtube.com/spelrutan Jens Törnblad

    I got an invite quite a while ago. But as usual with Google... Only available in the US. I really don't get that. I mean, it's an online service. Why not just release everything worldwide and maybe only have it available in English if that's the issue. I just don't get it. If it is services that use third party content, like Play Movies or similar, then I get it because it has to do with licensing and stuff even though that's weird as well, since it's online anyways. But when it's their own services it's beyond my understanding. Just press a button and it's worldwide. ^^ That's the biggest problem with Google.

  • Mike Evans

    I am offering a Helpout to learn Android development, but I'll teach you any bit of programming you want.

  • cy_n_ic

    *Generic rant about how something totally new and made in america is not available in my feeble country on the first day of release.

    • FrillArtist

      You wouldn't be so cocky if you were living in or visiting another country. I'm from the US but going on vacation every year, it's annoying not being able to access my music or download certain apps because of regional laws and what not.

      • cy_n_ic

        ^ generic reply

  • danishdhanshe

    Not available in India! :@

  • Mostafa

    AndroidPolice
    can you Please add APK file also
    need it very much :)

  • Asif

    I am getting the error below on Aptanastudio3

    from com.android.monkeyrunner import MonkeyRunner, MonkeyDevice

    ImportError: No module named android