You may have seen some of the online services out there where you can have a medical consultation with a doctor via video chat without having to physically go to an office. That’s pretty neat. Google is working to expand that to just about any subject with the launch of the Google Helpouts tool.
As its name implies, the Helpouts system works in much the same way as video chat over Google Hangouts, except you get connected with teachers and experts for the questions that you need answered. These experts are effectively trading their time and services in exchange for payment. As a user, the Helpouts sessions can be booked ahead of time by appointment or they can be on demand if an expert is available.
Google Helpouts will start with more than 1,000 such providers at time of launch and they offer a broad range of expertise. You can get music lessons, cooking demonstrations, home repair tips, yoga instruction, Photoshop assistance and more. It can work as a video chat, as well as via a screen share where that may be more appropriate.
Of course, you could just seek out a YouTube tutorial video for free, but Google Helpouts would allow you to have one-on-one time with an expert. It’s not clear how Google is vetting these experts but they are screening them. They have Sephora staff for makeup on board, as well as folks from One Medical, Rosetta Stone and Weight Watchers.