Science and Tech


Google Launches Helpouts to Connect You With Experts

Google launched Helpouts Monday to bring you closer to the experts in a given field. Pay to view lessons on cooking, exercise and more.
Posted at 2:21 PM, Nov 05, 2013

(Image source: Google Helpouts)


If you’re looking for a quick bit of how-to advice, chances are, you’ll Google it. Now the company is taking your request a step further.

Introducing Google Helpouts. Launched Monday night, this person-to-person video service aims to get you in touch with the experts. So you can finally learn how to play that guitar. (Via Google)

But Helpouts isn’t limited to music lessons. At launch, Google had more than 1,000 providers ready to help out on a variety of topics. 

And the best part is, Google’s already vetted each teacher. So you’ll get makeup tips from Sephora or health tips from Weight Watchers. And, as you can see, each “Helpout” has a price point. (Via Google Helpouts)

It could be free, a fee per minute, or a flat fee per Helpout. That’s up to the helper. (Via Google Helpouts)

All payments are handled through Google Wallet. And the Mountain View team takes a 20 percent cut on whatever you spend on your Helpout.

A writer for The Verge explains that 20 percent is likely why Google’s keeping this in the family. 

Google’s 20 percent cut might help explain why this service, which is largely based on the cross-platform Hangouts tool, is only available on the web and on Android — Google has not yet decided whether or how to deal with Apple’s own App Store policies and margins.”

Of course, if we’re going to talk ‘in the family,’ we can’t ignore YouTube. 

According to a recent Pew Internet and American Life Project survey, 56 percent of adults online viewing goes to instructional clips – many of which are on Google’s free-to-view YouTube. (Via Pew, YouTube / Performance Bicycle)

That said, Google’s VP for engineering tells CNN, “Sometimes all you need is facts, and that’s fine. Sometimes you need somebody to look over your shoulder, somebody to show you the way.”

And that is what Google hopes will set Helpouts apart. The Wall Street Journal compares the idea to other popular, e-commerce ventures. 

It says Google’s following sites like Uber and and Airbnb, building online marketplaces to grease the wheels of offline commerce…”

To take a look for yourself, head to And if you’re having trouble using the Internet, there’s a Helpout for that.