Google recently started a new thing called, Google Helpouts.

Yea, I know. What's new right? They are always coming up with new things and shutting down stuff they are no longer interested in (I won't forget the pain they caused when they removed Google Reader *shakes fist*).

Anyway, the concept of Google Helpouts is quite interesting. I was quite intrigued at first. But of course there were some issues that came up in my mind about it as well. Not sure about the feasibility and lifespan of this new venture of theirs. 

Ok, I'll try and explain what it is about. 

Let's see.

Helpouts is kinda about people sharing their knowledge and skills via videos in real time (livecam if you'd call it that). There are different categories for you to search for the help that you need. 

For example, if you wanna cook pasta, and you want someone to teach you "live" instead of watching Youtube videos or reading recipes online...

You can search under the Cooking category on Helpouts and find a particular helpout that meets your need.

The next available time of the live helpout will be listed on the description page. You can also view the schedule for later timings. Some may even provide the option for you to request a time.

Scheduled helpout

Helpout that allows you to request for a convenient timing.

There will be description about the person who would be providing the helpout. Reviews are just below the description.

Some helpouts are free and some may cost some money. If you have skills that you want to teach others, you can also provide helpouts for free or for a fee.

So that's about it. I haven't really explored it thoroughly but that's what I understood so far.

Here are the concerns I have about it:

  • Because it's live, so timings of the helpout you need may not be convenient for you. Requests for timings may not always be accepted too due to helpout providers' own schedule and maybe timezone issue.

  • You must be willing to take the risk of paying someone for a helpout based on description which might not be 100% true. Of course the reviews help, but sometimes reviews are not 100% reliable too. Apparently they have a 100% money back guarantee, but sometimes it's not just about money. It's time lost and maybe not being able to get something done in time... and the process of seeking a refund may be long and draggy causing more annoyance and trouble.

  • You must not be a shy person in order to use this service. Livecam with strangers. Hmm.

  • Not sure if people will misuse the live video function for inappropriate activities. Ahem.

  • Rude people with unreasonably high expectations may hurl insults at you during the live helpout sessions.

  • Internet trolls. 'Nuff said.

But of course, I think there are some good points about this concept too.

  • Free helpouts provided by experts and skillful people can really benefit people who really need the help.

  • We can earn some money with our skills and interests. You know, interests that we are good at and enjoy doing, but can't pursue and use as jobs due to practical reasons. Extra moolah FTW

  • Maybe make some new friends? Or gain some stalkers? :P

So would you try this out?

Do you think this will work?

You can visit the website to find out more. They even have a "free" introduction video about it. ;)

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