Google Helpouts

Yesterday, search engine giant Google announced the official launch of Google Helpouts, a monetised live video platform designed to let businesses sell, and give away, live video assistance on topics related to that business.

Free & Paid Help

Businesses have the option to offer content that is free to view, that costs a set fee per view, or that is charged by the minute.

The intention is to provide a space in which people can get professional assistance, (for a price).

How To Help Out

Right now, Helpouts are an invitation only service. If you’d like to offer them, you’ll need to sign up, and have your request processed by Google, who will then (if you qualify), give you an invitation code to allow you to set up an account.

You’ll need a Google+ account, (of course, just like you now need one to comment on YouTube), and you’ll need a webcam and a microphone.

They work pretty much like video hangouts on Google+, and your account will be linked to your +Profile.

Google takes a 20% flat fee each time somebody pays you for a helpout. Free helpouts have no charge.

You’ll also need to set up a Google Wallet, and link it to a bank account to get paid. The 20% Google takes covers all transaction fees etc.

How They Work

You can set up a schedule for fixed helpouts like classes or courses, or you can let users request a helpout from you when they need one (an instant session). Or both.

It’s possible to set cancellation fees, and users can be refunded if you don’t turn up to a scheduled helpout.

Why Helpouts?

Well, money and engagement probably.

Google is still working hard at bringing everybody into Google+ (and with a current three hundred million users, it can no longer really be called a “ghost town” like it once was). And that’s the engagement.

For the money, well, ad revenues are reportedly down for Google, and their model has always been volume based, not price based, so it could be a nice little earner for them if people pick it up.