It seems as though Google can't go very long without introducing something new for everyone to try out. This time, it's Google Helpouts, a service that allows users to connect with Google verified experts to learn the things they want to learn through a Hangout video chat. For instance, I could get on Helpouts and start learning how to play the piano, how to knit, or how to change the oil in my car, all through Google Hangouts. This might be another effort to expand Google+, Google's sluggish-in-adopting social service, or an opportunity for businesses to expand their offerings. Whatever it may be, watch today's Brown Bag to learn the value that Google is hoping Helpouts will have, and what we think this service is all about.


Hello, and welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today we’re going to be talking about Google Helpouts. I’m Chad Hill and I’m joined by Adam Stetzer.

Yeah, good morning, Chad. Welcome to the Brown Bag. So, we’ve got Google Helpouts. This is a new program from Google. People are probably familiar with Google Hangouts, and as we know, Google tests lots of new things. So, Google Helpouts- here it comes- what is this thing? Well, they’ve just announced this new program called Google Helpouts, and it allows you to both get and give help online. Help with what sorts of topics? Well, all sorts of things! You can get help on home repairs, the latest yoga poses, how to cook a great meal for your family, doing homework, or even learning how to play an instrument such as a guitar. So, Google’s going to launch this thing, and we’re going to see if it catches on. I think that’s an interesting discussion to have today, Chad. Will this be something that catches on?

Google has had a history of trying many, many products. They don’t all catch, and a lot of them do end up getting sunsetted and closed down. This one, though, is kind of close to a live-chat type feature, but very subject-oriented, and there’s a lot of data that people really do enjoy and use live chat. Here’s a survey from Bold Chat last year that says 65% of U.S. online shoppers engaged in live chat. Thirty-one percent percent of online shoppers say that they’re more likely to buy after a live chat. So, I’m not sure exactly how Google is positioning this product, and that’s what I’d like to discuss this morning in the Brown Bag, Chad. Is this going to catch on- A, and B- what is the advantage, if any, for our internet marketing community?

Another great question, and we know Google is throwing a lot of new things at us here. So, let’s look at what Google has done in the past. They did roll out a project a couple of years ago called “Google Answers.” The idea there was for people to have written responses, and it was more of a knowledge base that would answer various questions. This is an interesting and subtle little change, because what they’re doing is trying to find another hook for their G+ product. So today we’re talking to you in Google Hangouts, which is a great product they’ve build. It has very, very high quality video conferencing capabilities.

So, I think what they’re looking to do is leverage this investment that they built, and what they want to do is take that and create a marketplace for experts and people seeking advice to be able to connect, for those people who have information to create profiles, for those people seeking information to go read reviews, set up a time, and book an appointment, and facilitate the transaction so there’s a per minute or per hour rate and take a part of that. So, I think it will be a really interesting product. I think the big question is whether or not people are seeking and want to pay for advice and setting up these conferences. It will be another great way for them to leverage and maybe bring more people into Google Plus. This is something that Facebook and Twitter aren’t doing today, so I think that’s what we’re seeing here with Google Helpouts.

Interesting! And I know there’s all sorts of discussion about privacy concerns, what’s going to be discussed, and different topics. If you get into medical, you’ve got HIPAA issues. Is there going to be a money-back guarantee? Are you going to cover adult topics? So, there’s all sorts of things that will have to be ironed out by Google. But, I guess a few notable points, at least from my perspective, Chad, as I listen to what you’re saying are that the revenue model here is strikingly different from what we would expect. Google would traditionally do something like this and stick ads around it. I hear you saying it might be going a different way. It will be interesting to watch that unfold.

Kind of in the bigger picture, if you think about it, their core product, of course, is their search engine, and ads around the search engine, which is ultimately just content organization and delivery of other people’s content. Here, they are leveraging other people’s content, but they are trying to move from the traditional web interface into some of these other communication tools such as Google Hangouts and Gmail, as you’ve talked about. So, I think on the strategy side, I find it quite interesting that they’re still trying to get, help organize, and bring you great content, but they’re trying to leverage video, and they may be dabbling with a new revenue model. It’s very interesting, so we’ll have to stay tuned and see if Google Helpouts ultimately does deliver the help people want. We’d be interested in your feedback. Do you feel like, “Oh boy, Google. It’s just another product and I don’t have time for this. Not interested. I already have my sources. When I need live video feeds and help I just do YouTube video feeds for free,” or is this something you think could really catch on? We’re here every day doing the Brown Bag, and we hope to see you next week. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel.