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Samsung mimics Amazon's Mayday, tests 'Get Help' button on Chromebook 2

The South Korean device maker emulates Amazon's approach to customer service using a Google Hangouts-like service.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Amazon may just be starting out as a hardware maker, but veteran device manufacturer Samsung is already taking a page out of the e-commerce company's book.

Samsung is testing a "Get Help" button within the operating system for its Chromebook 2, which goes on sale next week. Similar to Amazon's Mayday video customer service feature, the button connects users with technical support. The laptop goes on presale Friday via Samsung's site and will become available in stores next week.

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The service, currently available on Chromebook 2 with Intel, is staffed by a Samsung support team with an experience akin to that of Google Helpouts. The company said it plans to roll out the service to other devices eventually.

When Amazon unveiled Mayday last year, the video service -- which lets technicians take over the screen of a device when aiding a customer -- created a buzz.

While services like real-time customer support chat already existed, Mayday gave Amazon the ability to provide an in-store technical support experience, but without an actual physical store, to mainstream customers who may not be comfortably tech-savvy.

The e-commerce company has been boldly moving into hardware in recent years, first tackling tablets before moving on to a media streaming device and gaming controller, and finally, a smartphone. The Fire TV, its media streaming device, remains one of the top-selling media streaming products on Amazon's own site, following Google's Chromecast streaming stick. While its tablets caught on early for their low price tag, sales have slowed since, and its Fire Phone has struggled in sales.

In contrast, Samsung is a longtime device maker. It's the top vendor of smartphones in the world, including the popular Galaxy line, and the No. 2 seller of tablets. The South Korean company has been making Chromebooks since 2011 and now holds the majority of the market share. But Chromebooks -- laptops that run Google's Chrome operating system -- are starting to gain popularity among mainstream consumers, according to research by Gartner. Easy-to-access customer service could help sway those who are less tech-inclined.

To enable the Google Help app on theChromebook 2, users need to sign into the device and the type "Chrome:help" into the address bar and download the update. After the update, the "Get Help" button should pop up on the bottom left of the screen.

Unlike Mayday, which is featured on Amazon's line of tablets and its smartphone, Samsung's video customer service is limited. But where Mayday is a one-sided video service, meaning the representative can hear you but can't see you, the Chromebook help is two-way video.

While Mayday is a 24-hour service, the Chromebook's "Get Help" button will only connect users to a representative Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT. Users can ask the support person on the other end questions about Chrome OS basics and features, but more technical troubleshooting will be directed to Google, according to Samsung.

Amazon, on the other hand, touts Mayday as a wide-ranging service. Customer service representatives will even help users navigate ordering a pizza online through a tablet, or sing "Happy Birthday."

If Samsung customers find the live video help on Chromebook useful, it may encourage other device makers to get on board as well.