Google, a company whose daring ventures range from self-driving cars to prolonging death itself, announced today a platform called Google Helpouts, dubbed "a new way to get and give personalized help over live video".
Helpouts utilizes Google's proprietary video-chat application, Google Hangouts, to allow people to get personalized help from individuals and businesses with expertise across multiple topics. Through Helpouts, a Mom can connect live with a nutritionist to receive tips on how to cook healthy meals. A programmer can get a veteran hacker to opine on his code through live discussion. Even Michael Bloomberg can achieve his goal of speaking Spanish like a native with the help of one of our native Lingo Live Spanish teachers!
If you have a problem that requires human expertise, Google Helpouts can connect you with the perfect person. Equally important, Helpouts provides the platform that makes reaching that person more convenient and efficient by removing barriers such as geography and time-zone, and streamlining payment and scheduling.
Listings give information on the individual or organization providing the instruction and may even include a video introduction from the expert themselves. Users can then connect or schedule a session for later and payment can be made for sessions up front or by the minute depending on the provider.
The ability to find and connect with a trusted expert online, in a matter of seconds, is something that simply does not exist in the world. EduFire,a company that launched in 2009, attempted to create a similar marketplace for live instruction. A former senior executive at Edufire told me "managing supply and demand is critical. If you have too many experts, they lose interest when the platform doesn't give them enough students," thereby creating a negative experience for the student who isn't getting a response from the teacher. Successful platforms also need to have the technical capabilities to make the connection between student and teacher as quickly as possible.
When the right fit is met, the lifetime value of the user is tremendous. Students cultivate a meaningful relationship with their instructor over months or even years of lessons. With Helpouts, there's no limit to how it will impact they way we learn and connect with people all over the world.