How many times in a month do you search on the internet to find out how to do something? Can you really be bothered to read reams of content?  If you go to Youtube, how can you be sure that a “How to” video has been made by a person who really knows what they are talking about?

Google has come up with an answer – Helpouts in the form of real time video which allows you to share screens if you want to and also to chat.  Riding on the top of the Google+ Hangouts framework you can choose to get help from the following 8 categories:

  • Education and Careers
  • Fitness and Nutrition
  • Cooking
  • Art and Music
  • Home and Garden
  • Health
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Fashion and Beauty

Unlike much of the information to be found on the web Google Helpouts is actually a way of finding information and learning how to do things without the marketing hype. Helpouts are designed to provide legitimate, genuine help.

By genuinely educating your customers in how to use your products or services you will make them more memorable considering that the information retained in one minute of online video is equal to about 1.8 million written words; so imagine what live interaction with them can do.

Helpouts will allow you to interact with your customers

Helpouts will allow you to interact with your customers with live chat and screen share where necessary; and you have the option of charging for your Helpouts or offering them free.  If you do decide to charge for them, it is compulsory to accept payment using Google Wallet and Google will require a 20 per cent commission.  You can charge for each session or charge by the minute if you are not sure how long a session is likely to last.

In addition to the obvious benefits of offering Helpouts to your customers, using them to educate yourself also has great advantages.  Wouldn’t it be great to get live help whilst learning how to fix your website or advice about how to make your next marketing campaign more successful? The possibilities are endless with this ultimate in information technology products?

Google Helpout Providers

Providers have to go through a screening process before Google will accept them as experts and Google will want to see relevant information and licensing for those offering professional help such as legal or medical consultations. The screening process will either be undertaken via video conference or by face to face visit.

It doesn’t matter how large or small a company is or whether you are an individual, provided you are an expert in your field, you can become a provider and have a Helpout listing  where you can include such information as your qualifications, how much you charge and your availability.

Using Google Helpouts

Currently there are only 8 categories so you will need to search in the most relevant category for the information you want or hit the direct links that can be found when browsing on the web.  Google has not stated at this stage whether it intends to expand those categories.

Rate and review

At the end of your Google Helpout session you will be encouraged to share your good or not so good experience with the provider on social media platforms such as Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and Google+, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

To encourage consumers to use Helpouts Google will provide a full refund if you are not completely satisfied with the service you have purchased.

Will Google Helpouts improve my site rank?

At this stage Google hasn’t commented on this but we suspect that they will want to market their new service and one of the ways they might do this is by indexing the profile pages of Helpout providers and the content they offer.

It is compulsory to have a Google+ account if you want to be a provider or to create one since your Google+ profile will form the basis of your Helpouts profile.  When you edit your Google+ profile your Helpouts profile will be automatically updated.

Without doubt, as Helpouts become more popular small, medium and large business owners together with service providers may find that they become a crucial part of SEO activity.

The potential for demonstrating products and services, and educating customers in their use is enormous whether you provide Helpouts for free or charge for them.  We will keep you posted further developments.