As previously reported, Google has now officially launched the Helpouts offering it has been teasing for the past few months. Helpouts are live video sessions that people and businesses can set up with users in need of learning about something new.
It's still in invite-only status for those looking to offer Helpouts, but the Helpouts site is live for you to search for help from providers.
TakeLessons is one of the early providers, and is offering Helpouts on various topics from drum lessons to math tutoring. TakeLessons CEO Steven Cox tells WebProNews a little about the experience.
"Google looked to TakeLessons to invite the best instructors found on TakeLessons.com to join Helpouts and offer instruction in areas covering music, acting and tutoring," he says. "For TakeLessons it's an exciting opportunity to allow students to learn in a new format and to enable teachers to make more money with unscheduled time on their calendar."
"A student will visit Google Helpouts and search for an instructor in a specific category," he explains. "For example, an aspiring actor may look for 30 minutes of coaching prior to an audition. Or a student may need help the night before a big exam. Or someone may just want to spend an hour learning the latest Taylor Swift song they just heard on the radio. Through Google Helpouts, you'll be able to search for a category of instruction, find the best instructor and take a private lesson with them instantly via Google's video platform. There will be a wide selection of instructors so students can find the perfect fit."
With Helpouts, providers can set their own cost and charge on a consistent amount per hangout or charge by the minute.
"Over the last seven years we have worked with over 50,000 instructors in over 2,500 cities and have a deep understanding of market dynamics within our instructional categories," says Cox. "Lessons are priced on a per-minute basis and costs will vary based on the instructor and the lesson type. Typically, lessons with a TakeLessons instructor will cost about $1 per minute."
Clearly, Google's new offering gives businesses a great deal of flexibility in this area.
Google is not the first company to offer this kind of one on one online video training. PopExpert, for example, has been around for over a year.
When asked what you can do with Helpouts that you can't with other platforms, Cox says, "Google created Helpouts to provide the best selection of on-demand experts anywhere in the world. While TakeLessons is focused on providing great teachers, Helpouts will have a wide selection of experts in an array of categories. This platform is unique because it will allow individuals to easily monetize their expertise by tapping directly into Google's expansive audience."
On marketing Helpouts, Cox says, "Instructors who have been selected to participate within Helpouts will get the benefit of Google's marketing muscle. In addition, TakeLessons will be incorporating the ability to initiate a Helpout from an instructor's profile on TakeLessons.com. For students who are trying to find the best instructor, a short video lesson is a great way to validate a perfect fit."
Google currently offers Helpouts in the following categories: Arts and Music, Computers and Electronics, Cooking, Education and Careers, Fashion and Beauty, Fitness and Nutrition, Health and Home and Garden. But that's just the beginning. Look for Google to greatly expand its available categories, particularly if these turn out to be popular. That will mean new business opportunities in more industries.
"This platform will benefit individuals across any topic where real-time expertise is required," says Cox.
"Helpouts will be a great complement for any service business," says Cox. "Services such as tutoring, music lessons and counseling can be delivered in their entirety via a video platform, and other services that require in-person interactions can still benefit from the Helpouts platform by offering on-demand advice and video interviews."
While Helpouts present some interesting opportunities for existing brands (Sephora, One Medical, Weight Watchers, Redbeacon and Rosetta Stone are already participating), some individuals may see the platform as a chance to build a business from scratch.