Google Introduces Helpouts

Google may have stumbled upon yet another way to print money. On Tuesday they announced Google Helpouts, a service that connects users to experts in various fields via live video chat. Users can get help with plenty of issues including cooking, home improvement, and surprisingly enough, medical.

It seems simple enough. You pay a fee via Google Wallet (the entire service is Google-based) to speak to a live professional. For the time being these professionals come by invitation only and Google has invited 1,000 companies to lend their services. The companies decide how much to charge with Google getting 20% of the profit. People will be happy to hear that some companies are offering their services for free.

Safety is an issue, but Google has safeguards in place to hopefully deter inappropriate behavior that the user might experience. The video chat can be terminated at any time and experts can of course be reported if its warranted. Post-chat feedback will be used to regulate the service and help users find the appropriate vendor. Helpouts is apparently already HIPAA-certified, so users can expect the same doctor/patient confidentiality that they would get from a traditional doctor visit.

Itís a pretty significant idea and one that could work really, really well as it expands and any kinks are worked out. Letís just hope my inner hypochondriac doesnít start chatting with doctors in the middle of the night.

via Mashable

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