A new way to learn

Google+describes+its+e-commerce+services+as+%22real+help+from+real+people+in+real+time.%22%0ACourtesy+of+helpouts.google.com

Google describes its e-commerce services as "real help from real people in real time." Courtesy of helpouts.google.com

Google describes its e-commerce services as "real help from real people in real time." Courtesy of helpouts.google.com
Google describes its e-commerce services as “real help from real people in real time.”
Courtesy of helpouts.google.com

Google users will now not only be able to search for help, but also receive advice through face-to-face tutorials with Google’s newest feature, Google Helpouts.
Google launched this e-commerce feature in November, taking how-to-YouTube videos to a more personal level. Instead of learning a skill from a prerecorded video, users can enjoy a live one-on-one video chat with a person well versed in a particular field.
According to helpouts.google.com, all a customer needs to take part in this learning experience is a Google+ profile, a Google Wallet account, a Web browser with the Helpouts plug-in and a webcam.
Users can search the Google Helpouts website for assistance and can read the profiles of various providers and sign up for desired time slots. Helpouts can be browsed directly or by category including Art & Music, Computers & Electronics, Cooking, Education & Careers, Fashion & Beauty, Fitness & Nutrition, Health and Home & Garden.
Mrs. Kiki Carozza, Convent of the Sacred Heart Middle School Coordinator of Educational Technology, thinks that this feature will revolutionize the way people learn.
“Many people are already going to YouTube to look up videos on learning new skills, so adding a live component is a plus,” Mrs. Carozza said.
According to helpouts.google.com, these video sessions cost anywhere from $0 to $240. The customer and the provider communicate using a Google Hangout video chat, and the user pays for the session using Google Wallet. Embedded in the cost for a Helpout is a 20 percent transaction fee to Google.
Mrs. Carozza believes that this Google Helpouts feature gives people the option to learn at anytime of day.
“Some people may prefer face to face instruction, but I think it is a positive trend,” Mrs. Carozza said. “It definitely taps into the ‘just-in-time’ learning when you want to learn in that particular moment.”
Google describes this program as “real help for real people in real time” according to helpouts.google.com. However, many consumers are concerned with the reliability of these online instructors, and wonder if they are worth the high prices.
According to digitaltrends.com, Google is taking steps to verify the credentials of the providers for the Helpouts program. Providers must apply to Google, and cannot set up a listing on their own.
“With Google backing up the providers, maybe it is naïve, but I would not have problems trusting the expert,” Mrs. Carozza said.
-Emily Hirshorn, Co-Opinions Editor