Announced back in August, Helpouts is a service that pairs users with experts in various fields, from gardening, to guitar playing, to tech troubleshooting.
The idea is simple, but potentially disruptive: users looking for advice on just about any matter can get one-on-one video “lessons”, which experts can offer for free or for a fee.
Today Helpouts is live: users can opt for the web interface, which is very similar to Google Plus, or use the Android app (US only for now), for attending sessions on the go.
Experts are available in the following fields: Art and Music, Computers and Electronics, Cooking, Education and Careers, Fashion and Beauty, Fitness and Nutrition, Health, and Home and Garden. Google has vetted each expert to ensure they’re qualified to give lessons. If you’re interested in becoming a provider, there’s an application form that lets you sign up for verification. Note that Google takes a 20 percent flat rate out of your earnings, and you need to be at least 18 years old.
The Android Helpouts app is rather basic, with a card based interface that looks like a cross between Google Plus and Google Now. You get to browse through Helpouts and quickly jump in a session or schedule it for later.
It remains to be seen whether Helpouts will be one of Google’s success stories or another product destined to be a victim of the now infamous spring cleanings. What do you think?