The Web site for Helpouts is live, inviting people interested in becoming experts to sign up, though the service has yet to launch. According to the service's support Web site, the video sessions will be conducted via Google+ Hangouts (and thus, users need a Google+ account to participate, another boon for the company). Helpout providers, as the site calls them, will be vetted by a third party, and each provider decides how much to charge -- either free, per session, or per minute. Users can choose different helpers based on qualifications, availability, reviews and ratings, and the service will be available on smartphones.
Helpouts follows a trend of several tech companies homing in on online video. Amazon launched its Mayday one-on-one video help feature in September. And smaller sites like MaestroMarket do essentially the same thing as Helpouts. Another service called CreativeLIVE uses live broadcasts to teach seminars on a number of topics, ranging from Photoshop to crocheting. And massive open online courses, or MOOCs, have made rumbles in the education space, with sites like Khan Academy and Coursera leading the charge.