Google lends a helping hand with the launch of Helpouts

Google Helpouts
If searching for answers is too hard, just get yourself some video help instead.

Google has launched Helpouts, a new service that will put users in direct video contact with an expert whenever a Google search just isn't enough.

Announced earlier this year, Helpouts is basically marriage of Google search and Hangouts.

"Once you're in a Helpout, you can do more than just talk. You can share your computer screen, collaboratively edit a presentation or record your Helpout," said Udi Manber, Vice President of Engineering.

If you're in need of a Helpout, you can either book an appointment with an expert in advance or connect instantly, and the experts can be individuals or from brands.

Helping out

Helpouts categories at the moment include Art & Music, Health, Education, Fitness, Home & Gardening, Cooking and Computers & Electronics.

Google Helpouts won't be a completely free service however, as experts will be able to charge by the minute or per video session.

But you will be able to choose who you get help from based on the experts qualifications, availability, ratings, reviews and their price, as well as record the video session if you like.

In terms of user safety, each expert needs to be approved by Google, and users can choose to exit the video conference whenever they like and report experts.

If the expert is more than 5 minutes late to an appointment or doesn't turn up at all, then you won't be charged.

And thankfully, if the Helpout wasn't… helpful, Manber assures us Google will offer a full money back guarantee.

Google's world

Helpouts is really an amalgamation of Google's world - and we can only imagine how it could be integrated with Google Glass.

With the new service, you can use Google search to find experts and vendors that offer Helpouts and you must have a Google+ profile (using your real identity) to start up a session with them.

The session itself is held over Hangouts and payments are accept through Google Wallet.

At the moment, brands and companies involved with Helpouts had been invited by Google, with examples including Sephora and Weight Watchers.

Manber said that the number of people involved is still small, with the expectation that over time the number of people getting help or becoming Helpouts experts will grow. He also noted that this is a new service and warned that there might be teething problems.

"Helpouts may not be suitable for every occasion, and it will take time to get used to interactions via real time video," he said.

Google is encouraging people to try out the new service and provide feedback. They are also still calling out for people who would want to become a Helpouts expert.