The Google Helpouts two-way video service, which offers help and advice from professionals on a wide range of subjects, launched Tuesday. Built on the Hangouts platform, the new Helpouts program allows viewers to video chat with a subject matter expert that can be chosen from an extensive list of categories.
Current categories include art and music, fashion and beauty, computers and electronics, cooking, education, fitness, nutrition, and home and garden. Sessions can be initiated instantly if a video representative is on hand, or can be scheduled for a later date. While content providers do have the option of offering video sessions free of charge, Helpouts can also be priced by the minute or session.
Video providers will be vetted for quality and security purposes, Mashable notes, and is currently invite-only for content providers. Users wishing to participate in a Helpout must use a Google+ account and make payments through Google Wallet.
Google’s newest service brings a wealth of exciting opportunities for both consumers and brands. The basic premise is that if a customer is struggling with a particular product or service, they can reach out to a professional from the company behind the product in question and receive a live demonstration to resolve their issue or get the best information about a product. For example, a customer having difficulty installing a product from Home Depot — one of the 1,000 providers enlisted for the launch — can connect with a Home Depot representative to ask questions and seek advice.
While this is obviously of significant benefit to the consumer, it also offers a prime opportunity for brands to introduce additional products or services and related content. AllThingsD highlights this by suggesting the possibility that Sephora might promote a new skin cream during a beauty Helpouts session.
The service is online and as an Android App. An iOS app is expected to follow.
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