For entrepreneurs who want to go beyond YouTube to provide a service and get additional exposure for their companies, Google has a new product called Helpouts that aims to do just that. Somewhat like Google Hangouts where you can host or attend live video discussions, Helpouts connects users with topic experts who can provide one-on-one, real-time advice.
"The goal behind Helpouts is simple: help people help each other," a Google spokesperson tells Entrepreneur.com. "We believe that no matter who you are, where you are, or what time it is, you should be able to talk with a knowledgeable person and get help."
Say you're a plumber and you’re looking to make some extra cash, you could use Helpouts to connect with people over live video and help them solve their issues, like fixing a toilet that overflowed or a leaky sink. First, of course, you'll want to create a Helpout listing that describes your services. You'll also have to designate the times and dates you’re available.
Unlike Hangouts, business owners and experts who use Helpouts will be able to set and charge a fee for each video session. Google says it will apply a fee of 20 percent to paid Helpouts. Providers and customers will need to use Google Wallet for the payment.
Helpouts isn't open to the public yet, but Google is inviting people with expertise across a number of topics to be able to offer Helpouts when the service eventually goes live. People who are interested can go to the Helpouts website and submit their contact information. Google will be sending invitations to those it deems a "good fit" for the service, the spokesperson says.