It might happen most of the time that you are shopping alone in a mall, and you wonder which dress to choose out of the two. What if you can just video chat with a fashion expert instantly with your smartphone who can advise you which dress will suit you best or what accessories should you choose to look just fab?
Finally, Google is out with its real time live video chat service Helpouts, to give a user access to worldwide experts over a wide category of services. Currently, the experts are available for categories such as Home & Garden, Computers & Electronics, Nutrition & Fitness, Fashion & Beauty, Art & Music, Cooking and Education except Health and counselling.
Since august this year, the hangouts were under the testing phase. The Google was giving out invitations to the professionals for sharing their expertise free or for a fee payable by the user. As published in other publications, Google, till date, has invited around 1000 companies to participate and still plans to keep it in invitation mode only.
“With [Google Helpouts], we can open the whole world to everybody,” said Udi Manber, Google’s vice-president of engineering. “Most of the world’s most useful information [still] resides in people’s heads.”
The experts can charge for their services either on per minute or per hour basis. At present minimum per hour charges we found on the helpouts page were to be USD 10 and min. per minute charges were USD 2. Also, for the paid hangouts, Google will be keeping the 20% of the fees paid as the platform transaction fee.
Now, since this involves dealing with complete strangers both in terms of seeking advice and doing payments, Google has also taken several security measures to avoid any misuse of users personal details, thereby also extending the usability of its existing products.
First, for each expert, a complete description of his /her education certificates is available on the corresponding helpouts page, thoroughly verified and acknowledge by the Google team. Then, users must have a Google+ profile in order to access service and video chat must be done through the Google Hangouts. Also, each payment must be routed through the Google Wallet service.
Users can leave their feedback after chat. If the user seems dissatisfied after the session, he can ask for full refund. Also, if the service provider gets late more than five minutes or is not able to connect on video, then also the session will be free for the user.
Google search since years have been looked as a solution provider for any kind of questions asked. Google Helpouts is yet another way to make people more connected with it. However, with its own video service YouTube offering thousands of videos on How To Stuff covering a wide range of topics, and that to for free, now can be the biggest competitor for Helpouts. But then, the information being provided is one sided and getting your problem solved accurately in real time can be a new trend ahead.
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