Google Seeks Experts For Helpouts Help Service - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Cloud // Software as a Service
05:51 PM
Connect Directly

Google Seeks Experts For Helpouts Help Service

People with knowledge worth sharing will soon be able to monetize their minds through Google's forthcoming Helpouts platform.

Google Maps Updated: 10 Cool Features
Google Maps Updated: 10 Cool Features
(click image for larger view)
Google has begun accepting requests to participate in a forthcoming service called Helpouts, through which businesses and individuals can offer advice to others for free or a fee via online video.

As might be expected from the service's name, Helpouts relies on Hangouts, Google's streaming video chat and conferencing service. Using a Hangout, a participating Helpout provider can connect with customers to present guidance on just about any permissible topic.

If the advice is not free, both the Helpout provider and the customer must have a Google Wallet account for payment, and Google will collect a 20% platform fee. Google's fee includes any applicable credit card transaction and Wallet charges.

[ NSA fallout continues. Read Groklaw Shuts Down, Cites Government Surveillance. ]

Google says that the Helpouts platform differs from Hangouts by handling business management details — payments, scheduling, reputation management and customer acquisition.

A company spokeswoman said in an email that Google isn't ready to provide specifics about the capabilities of the Helpouts platform beyond characterizing it as a "one-stop shop in terms of scheduling and payment."

However, the fact that Google is working with Infinity Contact, Capita Customer Management and VXI suggests that it intends to assist Helpouts providers with tools for customer service, customer retention, analytics and other relevant business processes.

Opening up an assistance-oriented business is simply a matter of creating a Helpouts listing, choosing a listing category, writing a listing description, specifying any relevant qualifications, and selecting whether the Helpout is free or paid. If it is paid, it can be paid by the minute or by the session.

Possible categories include: Home & Garden, Computers & Electronics, Health & Counseling, Nutrition & Fitness, Fashion & Beauty, Art & Music, Cooking, and Education.

Helpouts providers must submit a photo and propose a listing for approval. During this test phase, at least, Google says it will review the listing, contact the provider via video, and then issue either an approval or a rejection. Listings may be rejected for lack of qualifications or for policy violations.

Those wishing to offer medical advice will be contacted by a HireRight, a background screening service, for a credential check.

Google has reason to be careful about whom it accepts as a Helpout provider: It is offering Helpout customers a 100% money-back guarantee.

Google says Helpouts will be recorded, exclusively for quality assurance, except if the Helpout falls into the Health & Counseling category or if the customer opts out. Privacy, however, comes with a price: Those who opt out are not eligible for the money-back guarantee.

Google hasn't said when Helpouts will be publicly available. The company says that those who wish to receive further information about the service may sign up to be notified on the Helpouts website.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
8/21/2013 | 4:54:24 PM
re: Google Seeks Experts For Helpouts Help Service
I expect it will. Google's strategy seems to be similar to that of many publishers: point one article/service at another to drive traffic/usage. The big winner here I expect will be Google Wallet, which has not been particularly popular to date.
David F. Carr
David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
8/21/2013 | 1:44:50 PM
re: Google Seeks Experts For Helpouts Help Service
I wonder if the prohibition on sexually explicit content would prevent a legitimate sex therapist from offering advice. Just the first thing that I thought of looking at the prohibited content terms.
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

11 Things IT Professionals Wish They Knew Earlier in Their Careers
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/6/2021
Time to Shift Your Job Search Out of Neutral
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  3/31/2021
Does Identity Hinder Hybrid-Cloud and Multi-Cloud Adoption?
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  4/1/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Successful Strategies for Digital Transformation
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Flash Poll