Google announced back in August of this year that they were launching ‘Helpouts‘, a live online video ‘marketplace’ aimed at bringing businesses and individuals together to buy and sell specific services. Now it looks like the first invites are going out in a soft launch of the Google product. Although the home page remains invite only (unless you’ve been sent a code) you can find out a little more about the service via the FAQs where there is information on how to create and list a Helpout. You can offer a service for free or you can choose to charge for your time and experience by session or per minute. Current categories you can offer your advice in are Home & Garden, Computers & Electronics, Health & Counselling, Nutrition & Fitness, Fashion & Beauty, Art & Music, Cooking and Education.

Helpouts, according to Google, are a way for experts and professionals to “to make money sharing their skills and knowledge with the world”, and to do this over live video, any time and anywhere. Here’s a promo video that explains more about what Helpouts are:

The internet revolves around giving and receiving advice but there’s nothing quite like asking an expert face to face (via webcam) to talk you through a tricky problem or be there for support and Helpouts could be a potential goldmine for the right consultants who offer consistently good advice and attract great feedback.

Of course, there’s a high potential for scamming, especially in the health category so Google are working with a background vetting company to ensure health care professionals are screened before their listing goes live.  These live video calls also offer unlimited opportunities for more ‘adult’ one on one training sessions but we presume Google are ready for the onslaught of providers looking to make a quick buck in that particular area.

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