Google is always looking for new ways to monetize it’s products, and ways to roll out new ones. The company is infamous for making great ideas, most of which are free, and yet include just enough monetizing methods to fund themselves and more, while making sure the users don’t feel spammed with advertising over their requested content.
Search is unlimited, but they get solid revenue from advertising and AdWords, one of their biggest money-makers. Mail is free, but in-mail advertising, and corporate email ids is charged. Android is open-source, (70% goes to devs, 30% split between the carriers and payment processors), but the ads alone make them money. And now, in keeping, Hangouts is free, and Google now has Helpouts.
Helpouts is built on top of Hangouts, and enables users to face-to-face video-chat with professionals. Google manages the scheduling, ranking, payment system, and everything in between, and charges 20 % of what the experts make. It will work on top of any device that supports Hangouts
The Helpouts Homepage is up, and shows a number of help-pages, but is currently invite-only. Google says it is “currently inviting people with expertise across a number of topics to be able to offer Helpouts when we go live — and to make money sharing their skills and knowledge with the world.”.
People interested in offering Helpouts can register for a beta test. The cursory view of the page tell us that some areas in which the service is to be offered are, Home & Garden, Computers & Electronics, Health & Counseling, Nutrition & Fitness, Fashion & Beauty, Art & Music, Cooking, and Education. Payments are to be through Google Wallet, and the 20% cut goes to Google.
It is yet unknown how Google filters the experts. Google have said they have an extensive screening process to ensure the highest quality of professionals. Google is allegedly working with companies like HireRight, for background checks on medical professionals. It is also working with a number of companies for services on top of Helpouts
The idea of extending Hangouts, a simple way to video-chat with multiple people at once, to providing expert advice with the personal touch of one-one video chat, is brilliant in simplicity. Google with their infinite reach promises to handle all the logistics, pricing, scheduling, and have made getting professional advice as easy as a button-click, and a few ‘Can you hear me’s ?’ on webcam. Helpouts shows that existing ideas tweaked ever-so-slightly can make for great services, revenue-sources, and generally great products too