Google Plans Live Video Help-With-Anything Service

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You're probably familiar with Google Hangout, the Google+ video chat service. What about Helpouts?

Here’s a potential work-from-home opportunity for those who aren’t camera shy: Google Helpouts.

The service hasn’t launched yet, but there’s a website to request an invitation, as well as some information about how it will work on a policies page:

Ever wanted to share cooking recipes, speak a new language, or provide health tips? Helpouts allows you to share your passion, expertise, and more through live video, right from your computer or mobile device!

If you’re a professional or an expert in a particular area, share your knowledge with people who want to learn from you by giving a Helpout. Scheduling is simple and handled right from Helpouts. You can allow customers to schedule a session based on your availability. Since Helpouts are hosted via Hangouts video calls, you’re not tied to an office and you can connect with people around the world.

You’ll need a Google+ account to use the service once it rolls out. If you use any Google service beyond the basic search engine, you probably already have one. Customers must be at least age 13, and providers at least 18.

The interface will be similar to the Google+ Hangouts video chat feature, but “Helpouts takes care of all of the setup and maintenance associated with delivering your services — from payment, to scheduling, reputation management, and customer acquisition,” Google says.

Helpouts can be offered for free, but if there’s a fee, both providers and customers will use Google Wallet for the transaction, Google says. Prices can be flat fees or per minute. Google takes a 20 percent cut as a “platform fee,” which includes any credit card transaction and Wallet fees.

What can it be used for? Just about anything legal, it sounds like. Planned categories include Home & Garden, Computers & Electronics, Health & Counseling, Nutrition & Fitness, Fashion & Beauty, Art & Music, Cooking and Education. “Google even has a process in place to verify medical certificates and licences,” ArsTechnica notes.

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Stacy Johnson

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