Talking tech since 2003

Today, Google announced one of its most thoughtful web services yet: a service that connects you to experts around the world to acquire their assistance with whatever you need.

Whether it’s removing a virus from your computer, showing you how to finish a construction project, or teaching you how to play the guitar, there’s a helper (using Google’s video Hangouts) just for you.

Google is calling this service, Helpouts.

A Helpout is a designed to give you the help you need when you need it, and for a wide range of topics no less. Such examples Google gives is being taught how to speak French, how to fix a garage door, or how to draw cartoons — all through the Google Hangout video-conferencing platform.

Helpers are normal folks around the world, like you and I, just with the knowledge to help others on an area of particular expertise. You could technically do this before with a simple video call, but the system Google has setup allows you to find help based on qualification level, availability, price, and ratings from past buyers of a Helper’s assistance.

There will be Helpers from companies already widely known, such as Weight Watchers and Rosetta Stone, but you can also connect with everyday individuals who might just have a knack for teaching the skill at hand.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=K-VFC9AQM1k

Another way Google makes this process easier is by allowing you to share your screen with the Helper, edit documents and presentations collaboratively, and record your hangout for replaying later.

In a nutshell, this is Google Hangouts… but with a price tag attached. Google says that they have a full money back guarantee policy in place if your experience isn’t up to par, but it’s probably going to be a while before people start dropping dough on a service like this.

If it does perform well, then we might see a new wave of full-time Helpers — people whose entire day-to-day work is focused on helping those in need of help. Who knows?

Google Helpouts launches today “small and in a few categories.” They expect the audience of helpers to expand over time, and “make people’s lives easier in the long term.”

For more information, check out the official Helpouts page.

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