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Google’s been pretty good at spinning money out of all its products over the years but one area its been putting a lot of focus into over the last little while is ecommerce.
Now it looks like the internet giant is set to take that push into overdrive with the launch of Helpouts, a platform that leverages the company’s cloud services to power live, real-time commerce.
According to TechCrunch, the feature is currently being tested internally at Google and will take the shape of a marketplace that will allow businesses to buy and sell services using live video.
The product, named “Helpouts”, will reportedly come with the capacity to connect merchants and consumers on both an immediate and scheduled level as well as allow anyone selling on the platform to create their own profiles in order to take advantage of various reputation management, scheduling and payment features.
On the customer front, Helpouts apparently offers fairly robust search and discovery tools.
Given Google’s desire to give you a unified experience across its various products, it should hardly surprising that it’s leveraging Hangouts to push the product. It’s also therefore likely that the new platform will integrate with other Google products, such as Wallet.
TechCrunch reports that, like Zaarly, TaskRabbit and Live Ninja, Helpouts will cover a range of categories, including computers, education, food, health, hobbies and repair. So you could, for instance find yourself paying for a fitness class or real-time tech support over Hangouts.
In fact, there’s already precedent for people making money using Hangouts, perhaps the most prominent being a group of chefs who sold cooking lessons on the platform.
It is believed that Google already has a number of corporate partners for its internal testing, including One Medical Group, Sears, Weight Watchers and Alliance Frances.
It’s also believed that development of Helpouts has been pretty secretive until now, with only a couple of dozen engineers working on it during its earliest phases.
At this stage, it’s unclear what kind of rollout Helpouts will get, or even how invested in the product Google is. It’s also uncertain when it will be launched to the public, although it’s believed that it was only launched to internal testing in June.