Friday, November 08, 2013

Google takes on plumbers and doctors with Helpouts.


Google takes on plumbers and doctors with Helpouts

Google takes on plumbers and doctors
Google is offering lessons via Helpouts (Picture: PA)
Back in the day, you would have to sign up for classes in a draughty community centre if you wanted to lose some weight.
Boiler troubles would see a pricey plumber stroll around your house tutting, while health complaints meant trudging to the doctor and reading ancient magazines.
But Google thinks it can solve these problems (and more) through video chats with someone miles away.
It has launched Helpouts, which allows the public to pay for consultations on everyday hobbies and problems from their armchairs.
But with some sessions costing hundreds of pounds an hour, it does not always come cheap.
Google takes on plumbers and doctors with Helpouts
Udi Manber, a vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post: ‘Most of the world’s useful information still resides in people’s heads.
‘You might need a quick answer to a problem you’re having right now, guidance completing a project or help with learning a new skill.’
At first, Helpouts will offer lessons in eight categories including art, music, cooking, fashion and health.
Users choose experts based on their qualifications, availability and ratings, with a money-back guarantee if they are not satisfied.
The internet giant has stressed it will check the credentials of medical professionals on the site.
It plans to take a 20 per cent cut of the fee experts receive.
More than 1,000 people have signed up to offer their expertise so far, as well as brands such as Rosetta Stone and WeightWatchers. CNET’s Luke Westaway said: ‘Those with know-how in, say, playing instruments or gardening could use Helpouts to earn extra cash passing on their expertise.’