Google Helpouts to bring experts to you via video, report says

The company is said to be unveiling a service Monday night that connects people to experts via Google+ Hangouts.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva
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Google, Screenshot: CNET
Google is getting set to launch a new service later Monday called Helpouts, which connects people to experts who can assist them via online video in a range of categories from home repair to personal training, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Web site for Helpouts is live, inviting people interested in becoming experts to sign up, though the service has yet to launch. According to the service's support Web site, the video sessions will be conducted via Google+ Hangouts (and thus, users need a Google+ account to participate, another boon for the company). Helpout providers, as the site calls them, will be vetted by a third party, and each provider decides how much to charge -- either free, per session, or per minute. Users can choose different helpers based on qualifications, availability, reviews and ratings, and the service will be available on smartphones.

The Journal says that Google has reached out to a number of organizations, like Rosetta Stone, to tap experts for the service. TechCrunch first reported on Helpouts in July.

Helpouts follows a trend of several tech companies homing in on online video. Amazon launched its Mayday one-on-one video help feature in September. And smaller sites like MaestroMarket do essentially the same thing as Helpouts. Another service called CreativeLIVE uses live broadcasts to teach seminars on a number of topics, ranging from Photoshop to crocheting. And massive open online courses, or MOOCs, have made rumbles in the education space, with sites like Khan Academy and Coursera leading the charge.