updated 04:43 am EST, Tue November 5, 2013
Hangout-based support charged per minute, per hangout
Google has opened up its Hangouts-based video support service to the general public. Google Helpouts, a service that was accepting applications by experts to offer their advice to others in late August, is now allowing users to search for and pay for a video conference with an expert to help them with a specific task or for general advice.
As a paid service, Helpouts requires users to have a Google+ identity and access to Google Wallet, reports TechCrunch. The initial launch sees Google offering support from more than 1,000 providers, all of which have been vetted by Google, with healthcare support receiving extra certification from a third-party. Established services including Weight Watchers, Rosetta Stone, and One Medical are also providing their services to customers.
Support charges vary between both subject matter and the perceived level of expertise of the provider. A listing for learning about chocolate from the Savour Chocolate & Patisserie School costs $33.17 per Helpout or $2.37 per minute, for example, with some offering help at $1 per minute, or for those looking to promote themselves, at no charge. Google itself gets a 20-percent cut from the charges, and also offers a money-back guarantee.
Helpouts is available to use through its website, as well as through a dedicated Android app.