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Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Google Helpouts Provide Help When You Need It

Google is launching a service that lets online users pay for live video chats with experts who can provide help for almost everything.

With Google Helpouts, users can get help over live video. Help might be a quick answer to a problem you're having right now, like how to fix your garage door, or how to remove a computer virus; or it might be guidance completing a project, like building a deck.

Users can choose who you get help from based on their qualifications, their availability, their price, their ratings and reviews. Users can connect instantly or book in advance.

The service features roughly 1,000 partners in fashion, fitness, computers and other topics. The video sessions can be as short as a few minutes or can last several hours, depending on the topic, with pricing set by each individual provider.

User can also hare their computer screens, collaboratively edit a presentation, or record their Helpout. ANd for those not satisfied with the help, Google says it offers a full money back guarantee.

The video consultations is a smart way for Google to increase the engagement of its online users as the company expands its traditional Web search service.

"Most of the world's useful information still resides in people's heads," Udi Manber, vice president of engineering at Google said. Helpouts "opens the door to that information as well."

Manber said that Google will initially provide tight oversight of the Helpouts website, deciding which types of services can be offered on Helpouts. For providers of medical consultations, Google will conduct background checks to ensure that the provider has valid credentials.

In addition to individual experts, large brands such as Sephora, Weight Watchers and Rosetta Stone will also be offering video sessions on the Helpouts service.

Google will take 20 percent of the fee that the providers collect from consumers for the video chats, though Google is initially waving the transaction fee for providers in the Health category.

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