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Google Helpouts

Hosting a holiday party and need help figuring out the best appetizers to serve? Or maybe you’ve wanted to learn how to play guitar, but never had the patience to seek out a teacher that would work around your schedule? Before the New Year, wouldn’t it be nice to brush up on your fitness regimen? We usually ask our friends and family for this type of advice, even though they might be far from experts. Instead of wondering and researching online for answers to life solutions, try the new platform by Google called Helpouts which launched last week for users to receive live tutorials, advice and help from those who know best.

On Nov. 5, Helpouts went live with an array of experts eager to receive their first clients/students. At a first glance, Helpouts sessions are categorized by topics such as art & music, cooking, computers & electronics, education & careers, fashion & beauty, fitness & nutrition, health and home & garden. Browse experts and professionals by category or use the search tool bar answering the question “I need help with…” Users are given a variety of results of topics of interest and can view the expert’s star ratings and reviews by previous clients.

It’s entirely up to the Helpout expert if they decide to charge for their help/service. And many Helpouts are free too. The sessions are pre-scheduled so that anyone can hop into a Helpout at a moment’s notice. Additionally, once the session is scheduled, users can manage multiple Helpouts through an organized calendar system.

Since the Helpouts are done face to face through Google + Hangouts, it’s important the user has a Google + account and a working webcam/microphone. From there, it’s easy to connect to people globally on vast amount of topics.

Some experts were picked by Google to join the network and some applied individually to be included. Anyone can apply to join the roster of individuals that share their expertise.

After speaking with a few of the Helpout experts, it was clear that the launch was a success with a great potential of growth and educational power.

Anne Jelinek, owner of PULSE Kettlebells and Yoga, has been coaching and teaching fitness classes for more than five years and wants to utilize Helpouts as a way to assist users in establishing safe and effective movements in both kettlebell training and yoga practice. She charges clients $1.25/minute or $30/30 minutes. “I have mostly seen clients who wish to clean up their kettlebell technique or have me coach them through a full workout, and the sessions have been successful and encouraging on both ends of the call.”

Scheduling is easy to manage and convenient for any busy individual. “It seems like a wonderful way to reach new clients and help existing clients during travel and times when they can’t come in for an in-person session,” she said. “I am excited to see the platform evolve!”

Another expert is Robert Woods, professor at Great Books Honors College and academic tutor, who offers “Great Books and Classics: Your Conversational Guide to Understanding.” As an expert in literature, history and philosophy, Woods has been given a five-star rating from previous clients, most likely because of the conversations and lasting relationships he has built in a short amount of time his help has been offered.

“It has been great,” Woods said. “I have had the range of people I anticipated helping. I have a few people that want a reading plan and someone who can help them read these important and life shaping works. I have one home-school family that wants help devising a great reading plan that is just right for their family. I have a few people who will be calling me periodically for help on certain books and authors.”

Woods additionally follow-ups with helpful materials and his attentive nature has clients raving about his help. One pleased reviewer, Charlie Staats said: “It was a pleasure to speak with Robert…very personable and I appreciate his willingness to help. If you have any questions about reading, he’s the go-to guy.”

A strong rating is important as time goes on and more people are accepted in, badly-rated Helpouts will be shuffled to the bottom as users can easily sort category by “Best Reputation.”

Todd Jones, founding farmer of mobile app Every Last Morsel and urban farming expert, found out first hand that offering his help and advice for free will create value later. “I still don’t feel comfortable asking someone to pay me so I can tell them that they don’t have enough sunlight to grow anything so I think I’ll always offer an introductory Helpout at no charge,” he said. “The unintended benefit of this generosity has already paid off. Because it was free, I was able to perform several Helpouts the first day [of launch] and each of them gave me a five-star rating, which has shot me to the top of the leaderboard in search results.”

Another free Helpout is from Juliana Marques, editor in chief and fashion expert at Fashion on Rock. She has also been highly-rated and has enjoyed giving advice on fashion and the topics that surround it like confidence and personal style. So far, unexpectedly, her Helpouts have been mostly from teenage boys. “They’re more into fashion than we thought and it’s kinda cute to see them worry on how to dress up because as we know, boys are tougher to talk about fashion and I’m glad I’m there to help,” she said.

Self-proclaimed “workaholic in training” Joshua Cheney, a college student and freelance website designer, has signed on to help with website needs. “I run my own website company and I want to make sure that those that want to start their own site, have the opportunity to do so,” he said.

Cheney encourages anyone to apply as it’s an opportunity to offer value to a business and brand. As evidenced with Helpouts managed by big brands such as Sears and Home Depot, businesses have everything to gain in offering the help. “If you have a special skill, sign up and help out others! Plus, you can even make some money doing it too!” he said.

Jones additionally offered his perception into what may be “the beginning of something big.”

“I’m excited to see how this expands,” Jones said. “If you start thinking about all the implications this could have, especially with the release of hardware like Glass, then I think it’s impossible not be awestruck about the very near future.”

Contact Information

Anne Jelinek
Owner, PULSE Kettlebells and Yoga

Robert Woods
Professor and tutor, Great Books Honors College

Todd Jones
Founding farmer, Every Last Morsel

Juliana Marques
Editor in Chief, Fashion on Rock

Joshua Cheney
Owner, Cascadia Capturing Company

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About Jenny Wittman

Jenny Wittman is senior editor and features writer for Cision Blog and oversees the daily media updates on the site. She is also senior media researcher at Cision and joined the company in March 2008. She likes being outdoors, going to concerts, traveling and exploring art galleries. She adores all animals and has a fascination for the cosmos. Find her on Twitter @jennywittman.

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