is a nifty communication tool, allowing people to connect via video and chat, and now Google
is building another (even more compelling) service on top of Hangouts called Google Helpouts.
Simply put, Google Helpouts lets users connect with experts for help on projects, troubleshooting, advice, and so on via live video. For anyone who’s spent time flipping through YouTube
how-to videos trying to figure out how to fix a dishwasher, or spent an hour Googling around to find a PDF of an out-of-print moped owner’s manual, or sifted through forum posts to get help troubleshooting a computer error, Helpouts sounds like it could be a revelation.
That’s supposing, of course, that Google can pull in a sufficient number and high-enough quality experts; currently, Google is inviting people “with expertise across a number of topics” to be available for when Google Hangouts goes live.
Helpout experts will ostensibly be able to make money for their trouble, and although we‘d wager that it’s very little cash per hour, no doubt a lot of people will jump in to share their expertise with strangers from all around the world. For whatever wonderful reason, many people seem to have a compulsion to share their knowledge and insights online; this is an extension of that phenomenon.
Further, because of its built-in anonymity, the Internet can sometimes be a nasty place to interact with others, but when you’re video chatting live with another human being, you’re more likely to have a pleasant and mutually respectful conversation, and that’s a good thing. If you can get legitimate help with a problem, so much the better.