Google to Launch New Helpouts Video 'How-To' Site
Google is taking the popular television "Do-It-Yourself" concept to a new level with its upcoming new Helpouts video instruction and "how-to" service, which will help match experts with people who need assistance fixing up their homes, repairing cars, cooking or improving their lawns.
The new Helpouts service isn't live yet, but Google has begun searching for experts who would want to create how-to video content that could be used by others to solve their problems and issues in their homes, yards, garages, workplaces and other locations.
"Helpouts is a new way to connect people who need help with people who can give help, over live video, anytime, anywhere," says the home page for the new site. "Helpouts isn't available yet, but we're currently inviting people with expertise across a number of topics to be able to offer Helpouts when we go live—and to make money sharing their skills and knowledge with the world."
Invitation codes are being sent out by Google to an unknown number of people to gauge their interest in providing such services, according to the site, but those who don't receive a code can contact Google to seek a chance to participate. You can enter your first and last names and an email address in the blanks on the home page to get Google's future attention.
"If you haven't received an invitation, but are interested in Helpouts, tell us. We'll let you know when we're live and accepting more applications to give help," the site states.
In a reply to an email from eWEEK, a Google spokeswoman said that no formal launch date for the service has been set yet but that the project is moving ahead nicely.
The service is being created to make it easier for people who need help to find it, said the spokeswoman. "Good help should be easy to find. The world is full of knowledgeable people but finding a person who can share what they know with you, when you need to know it, hasn’t always been easy. Helpouts makes it easy to get instant help from people—both individuals and businesses—anytime, anywhere."
The Helpouts sessions can be free or can include fees, based on what the two sides decide, according to Google. If the sessions include charges, then Google receives 20 percent of the fees for providing the services.
"The goal behind Helpouts is simple: help people help each other," said the spokeswoman. "We believe that no matter who you are, where you are, or what time it is, you should be able to talk with a knowledgeable person and get help. Helpouts makes it easy for individuals and businesses to grow their business by setting their own rates and getting paid online. Providers can work on their own schedule, whether they're at home or on-the-go. It easily integrates video calls, billing, messaging, calendar scheduling and more, making it easy to connect with customers, students, patients, etc."
The sessions will be delivered through Google's Hangouts video chat service.
Google is always looking at creating new services and potential revenue streams.
Earlier in August, Google announced plans to replace existing AT&T WiFi service in some 7,000 Starbucks stores with Google's own high-speed WiFi services, which promise to be 10 times faster than the existing AT&T systems they will replace. Starbucks stores located in communities that have super-high-speed Google Fiber service will get in-store WiFi connections that are even faster—up to 100 times that of existing speeds under the deal.
In July, Google presented the city of San Francisco with a $600,000 grant to build a WiFi network that will provide free WiFi throughout the city's 31 parks and open spaces. The grant will cover the cost of needed equipment, installation and maintenance of the system for two years. The installation of the system will begin in December 2013, and all 31 sites are expected to be fully completed and ready for use by the spring of 2014.