Google Helpouts: It’s a paid version of Google Hangouts, for when you need expert advice

BY Stefan Constantinescu

Published 21 Aug 2013

Google Hangouts is arguably the only most useful feature of Google+. The search giant will essentially let you and nine other people have a video chat. Sounds great, right? Now what if you take that same service and apply it to seeking advice? Need to talk to a plumber? Get yoga lessons? Ask someone how to trim your eyebrows so you don’t end up looking a scary demonic clown?

Enter Google Helpouts.

It’s Google Hangouts, except you’re paying someone to have a video call. How much are these calls? I have no idea, you need an invite to use the service. Google apparently has a 100% money back guarantee, so if you feel like you didn’t get what you paid for, you’ll get everything back. And if you’re the one charging other people to talk to you, note that Google takes away 20% for themselves.

Is this a good idea? Yes and no. Yes, it’s fantastic that people get to help other people, but the last thing I want to happen is for companies to adopt this sort of tiered tech support approach. If you want the best possible service, please pay us! Two years ago, Lufthansa lost my luggage, and they talked to me on Twitter, they talked to me via email, but every time I demanded that they we have a chat on the phone, they flat out denied my request.

Why? Because talking to people is expensive.