Google Helpouts: Real Help in Real Time
Google recently announced the release of their latest endeavor. Google Helpouts is a cross between Google+ Hangouts and Google Wallets to provide you with paid expert advice via video chat on any problem you may have in any given moment.
Google has devised a list of providers from a little more than 1000 brands as their platform for expert advice. Of course in the long run, they will need much more, but for now, Google will need to prove that what they are offering is different and worth paying for. Through Helpouts, Google is striving to be able to answer any question a customer may have from how to change the oil on a car, to how to zest a lemon.
Their competition currently lies with YouTube how-to videos, real friend interaction, Yahoo Answers, and Facebook friends, all “services” that are at no charge. Google understands this and is therefore providing a few Helpouts at no charge. What constitutes as free is at the discretion of the provider, and some worry that it would have to take a lot for one to work for free.
Some concerns are in the quality of the video stream and the promptness of the provider. If, for example, a customer needs help outside where they might not have the greatest internet connection, Helpouts has the potential to run into some issues. In addition, if the customer is in a time-sensitive situation and needs help right now, they won’t have time to wait five minutes for someone to pick-up their call.
The future will tell if Helpouts will catch on, but Google is an innovative company and should be commended for their work in expanding our service industry.
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