Google Helpouts: face-to-face video advice from experts

New service uses the Hangouts formula to connect users to a network of professionals

Google is currently testing a new service named Helpouts: a platform for experts to offer advice to amateurs over video chat.

The service will be connected through the search giant’s social networking site Google+ and will offer “a new way to connect people who need help with people who can give help, over live video, anytime, anywhere.”

Similar in structure to Google’s Hangouts service, Helpouts offers professionals “all of the setup and maintenance associated with delivering your services - from payment, to scheduling, reputation management, and customer acquisition.” In exchange, Google will take 10 per cent of the expert’s fee.

Although the public is not yet able to sign-up for the service, the help section of the website details the process as well as listing the different categories for recruiting expert: Home & Garden, Computers & Electronics, Health & Counseling, Nutrition & Fitness, Fashion & Beauty, Art & Music, Cooking and Education.

Google also notes that experts on “adult-themed / sexually-explicit content”, “alcoholic beverages” and “gambling” will also be prohibited from using the service.

The service seems designed to cash in on the popularity of well-established ‘how to’ sites such as VideoJug and eHow.

The sign-up process prompts individuals to supply “information on your certificates, training, experience” and Google says that they will verify any medical certificates with a third party.