Aug. 21, 2013 at 11:26 AM ET
What’s your first instinct when trying to answer a question or solve a problem? You Google it. But sometimes that isn’t enough. That’s why the search giant is rolling out Google Helpouts, offering face-to-face tutorials and advice via video chats.
Helpouts are video calls powered by Google+ Hangouts that involve experts selling their services in various areas of expertise. As of now these categories include Home & Garden, Computer & Electronics, Cooking& Education, Health & Counseling, Nutrition & Fitness, Fashion & Beauty and Art & Music. The service is currently being tested, but you can sign up to be notified of its official launch. In the meantime, Google said it’s inviting “people with expertise across a number of topics” to offer their input.
Experts who charge for their advice will accept payments through Google Wallet, and Google gets a 20 percent cut. The company also vows that users will get a full refund if they aren’t satisfied with the Helpout. Options include paying by the minute or by the session — experts can also provide their services for free.
Google isn’t taking the “expert” part lightly, however. In order to create a Helpout users must provide qualifications such as certificates, training and experience. Google also requires that a third party checks your license or certificate if you’re looking to provide medical services.
Google has reportedly partnered with brand such as Sears and Weight Watchers during testing, according to TechCrunch, so it’s possible we’ll see their services on Helpouts when it launches.
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