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Google Helpouts Not Ready for Business to Business Markets
Posted on December 11th 2013
Google’s newest initiative is a tool/service they call Helpouts by Google.
It incorporates Google Hangouts, Google Voice Chat, Google Wallet and other Google tools to deliver a service to customers for free or for a fee. Still very new and requiring an invitation to participate, I was intrigued about possible ways to apply this.
How to sign up to teach your topic on Helpouts by Google
Browse to this page at the official Helpouts by Google site. In the lower right hand corner in small print you will see a link that says “Request a code” which you will click on to request your invite code. You will then be directed to a page that asks you what topic you are planning to teach or train on. As of now, you are limited only to those listed in the drop-down list which is very limited.
These are the current topics:
- Arts & Music
- Computers & Electronics
- Education & Careers
- Fashion & Beauty
- Fitness & Nutrition
- Home & Garden
I think you will agree – very limited and not really suited to a Business to Business company focus.
Here is a video that gives a good representation of the service and also the types of training they currently want to offer:
Once you have selected a category and clicked “Submit” you are taken to a new page with this message:
“If you haven’t received an invitation, bur are interested in Helpouts, tell us. We’ll let you know when we’re accepting more applications to give help.” In other words – wait.
You will be able to complete a Profile of sorts, with the title and description of the service you want to provide, are you going to offer your service free or for a fee and if so, how much, in addition to your credentials, education and background.
I continued further into the process and after approximately three weeks, received my invite code via email. I then followed the links and instructions in the email and was then given the chance to schedule an interview with a Helpouts consultant, a screener who will review your application and offer suggestions to improve your listing.
This is where it got interesting for me. The interview is conducted over a live video and audio connection using Google voice and a webcam. My reviewer read through my profile, title, offer description, credentials etc. and then informed me that he wants to see some major changes. He covered some good points to clarify and narrow down my offer to make it crystal clear what a buyer should expect to get – great point. He then went on to say that he would not approve anything that involved a product that was a competitor to a Google product. So I asked about LinkedIn, Twitter, WordPress, Microsoft Office etc. and you can see what I was trying to find out. Is this really going to limit what is offered only to Google tools? And the magic answer, was yes.
That was a big disappointment for me, as I had begun to think that this might be a valuable platform for focused training and trouble-shooting for web tools and social media tools that many entrepreneurs and small business people desperately need. Nope, nada. WordPress is a competitor to Blogger. Twitter, LinkedIn, AWeber and Mailchimp are all competitors to Google’s offerings – some directly and some close.
He told me to reconsider and if I want to change my offer to focus on Google products then we should talk again. It might have been one of the creepiest, arrogant conversations I have ever had.
I have since received a more formal email telling me that they are not open to my types of offers or categories, but they will be rolling out new categories in the future.
The concept is a good one. Provide a platform for people to receive training on things over the web, utilizing audio and video, on a variety of topics in short installments for a predetermined fee. There are other platforms much more advanced like Udemy that are doing a terrific job in this space, but without some of the newest tech that Google brings to the table.
My final recommendation on Helpouts by Google is that if you offer make-up tips or cooking tips, give it a go. If you are a B2B or even B2C focused professional with an offer for clients, hold off and see which direction this platform goes.
- Review what you offer your clients and decide if any of them fit into Google’s limited offering at this point.
- Request an invitation code with the link above, so that if things change in the future, you will be able to get moving faster.
- If you are already in the program and listed live, let us know what your experiences have been so far.