Google: Stop asking the Internet how to do things, ask a human instead

Google logo“How to” searches that end with a click on a video tutorial must be booming in Google’s books. At a press event Monday, the company announced a new branch of video Hangouts, entitled “Helpouts,” which amount to live video tutorials with approved experts who can provide assistance on whatever problem you’re trying to solve with the Internet. The only catch: Helpouts will cost you.

YouTube tutorials are not the flashy success that vloggers or televised nip slips are. But in this reporter’s experience, there’s hardly a question you can ask the eight ball of Google’s search field that doesn’t result in a YouTube answer—if not a tight and well-produced two-minute clip, at least a meandering 10 minutes of a random person talking at the camera with a few glimmering seconds of actual helpful data sprinkled in.

By contrast, Google Helpouts will connect you with an approved expert who specifically addresses your problem via video chat. Each helper has a fixed or per-minute rate that you pay via Google Wallet, of which Google gets a 20 percent cut, and users will be able to rate and review helpers.

Google: Stop asking the Internet how to do things, ask a human instead

Prices vary widely, but some that are already posted include a 30-minute Rosetta Stone Spanish tutorial for $30, one-on-one stylist tips for 50¢ per minute, and WordPress help for $2 per minute. Each helper will have a set availability, and users can either get in line for a Helpout during open hours or schedule one later.

Google says the service is HIPAA-compliant, so health care professionals including therapists or psychiatrists can provide their services over Helpouts. While the product sounds like it could be open to some of the same on-demand service you might also get in an hourly rate motel room, Google mandates that no adult content will be traded on Helpouts.

The Helpouts rollout begins today. Google has already posted some Helpouts to the service's home page, where users can also sign up to provide their own Helpouts.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Google

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