Google has been testing a new product called Helpouts with brands like Sears, Weight Watchers, and others, according to TechCrunch, who received a tip about it, and shared a bunch of screenshots (including the one above).
As you can see from the above image, Google's description is: "Helpouts is a new way to provide real-time help over video chat anytime, anywhere. Turn your skills into a business by offering instant help or scheduled classes."
According the report, Helpouts is at least a month away from a public release, and leverages Google's cloud services to help users engage in real-time commerce. It says the product "will take shape as a marketplace that enables individuals and small and large businesses to buy and sell services via live video."
With Helpouts, sellers can reportedly create profiles, offer free and/or paid services, and access tools for payment, scheduling, and reputation management. Of course there are also search and discovery features for consumers.
The piece hints that Helpouts would be integrated with other Google products, such as Wallet, and it's easy to envision it being integrated with Google Shopping, YouTube and Google+, and even Google search.
A couple months ago, Google introduced a new e-commerce offering on YouTube enabling businesses to sell products directly from their channel. It's not hard to imagine this Helpouts offering fitting in there.
Helpouts could take a similar shape at the business level, and the video element could bring a whole new level of customer service to businesses using Google to sell products and services. Considering how vital a tool Google itself is for businesses, Helpouts could be huge, depending on how Google chooses to implement it. Perhaps even more significant is how it could empower individuals to create businesses based on the offering.
Lead image: TechCrunch