Google Helpouts provides live video help for everything

Google has just launched Google Helpouts, a bold new live video service that enables expert assistance on a whole range of problems.

Helpouts takes the form of a new website broken into eight separate topics: Art & Music, Computers & Electronics, Cooking, Education & Careers, Fashion & Beauty, Fitness & Nutrition, Health, and Home & Garden.

Each category offers expert help on a specific matter, whether that be Chinese language tutoring or troubleshooting for your gas furnace. This expert will set regular time slots for live video assistance on their particular area of expertise, for a set fee.

Prices can range from free for an improvisational rock guitar lesson to $47.39 (around £30) for a half hour session from a business systems expert.

Each expert, whether an individual or an established brand, is granted a breakdown of their qualifications, as well as a five star rating based on previous Helpout users (rather like Google Play Store apps). This means that you can make an informed choice on where your time, money and bandwidth go to.

Once you’re in a video chat-like Helpout, you can opt to share your computer screen with the expert on the other end. You can also collaboratively edit a presentation or even record your Helpout for later reference.

Google clearly needs to convince people to dive in with the whole Helpouts concept, so it’s offering a full refund if the experience doesn’t match your expectations. It acknowledges that the pool of knowledge is relatively shallow at present, but predicts that it will deepen with time and usage.

As well as acquiring assistance from the Helpouts website, you can also sign up to become a Helpouts expert yourself. It’s time to put that home economics degree to good use.

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