Business

Got a tricky question? Google Helpouts can connect you with an expert online

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Does milk actually make your scrambled eggs fluffier? Why hasn’t your romantic interest texted you back? Can democracy bring an end to the crisis in Egypt?

Some of life’s most elusive and/or nuanced questions will not be satisfied with a 30-second web search. So Google is experimenting with a new service, dubbed Google Helpouts, to connect people with a qualified expert online.

Google Helpouts is still being tested by the Hangout team, and it has not been released to the broader public just yet. Google says it is inviting folks with expertise “across a number of topics” to sign up and provide user experience feedback. So far, Google has registered experts that specialize in just a few niche areas, including cooking, home and garden, and computers.

Google plans to make revenues from the new service. It will take a flat 20 percent cut of whatever experts pull in, which may depend on the demand for their area of expertise.

Plenty of startups are already working in this space (LivePerson, Talktoanexpertonline.com, liveexperts.tv), but Google boasts superior distribution and reach. It has the opportunity to blow the competition out of the water.

The official launch date for Google Helpout is still under wraps, but we’ll keep you posted.


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