Google has gone live with Helpouts, a service that allows you to receive help from experts in a variety of fields using the company’s Hangouts feature.
The commerce product, which was first spotted in testing back in July, means that you can, for instance, pay to have a cooking lesson or get help with a guitar chord you’ve been battling to nail, all via Hangouts.
In order to make the venture commercially viable, Google has brought together Google+ identities and Google Wallet. It’s also made sure to bring in a whole bunch of established brands to make sure that there are experts to help you out from the get go.
As TechCrunch’s Alex Wilhelm notes however that won’t be okay forever, so Google’s going to have to show that its offering is demonstrably better than anything else out there.
If it’s to expand to the levels it needs to though, it won’t be able to vet every provider on the platform as it currently does. And if it wants to keep the quality of providers reasonably high then it needs to ensure that they get enough customers and enough cash to stick with the platform.
Of course, it’s doing its best to ensure that the experts don’t just sit around waiting for customers. Instead, it hopes that they’ll keep it open in the background or choose to receive an SMS alerting them that someone wants to talk to them if they’re away from their desks.
Anyone wanting to give their own Helpouts will need an invitation code for now. Once you’ve got the code though, you’ll reportedly be able to set your own schedule and whether you want to give Helpouts from your desk or on the go. You can also set your own rate for each Helpout, and charge a fixed price per Helpout or set a per-minute rate. Payment will, of course, be through Google Wallet.