- Google Helpouts is a new program from Google that offers a network of screened (by Google) experts to answer users' questions via live video connection on a wide variety of topics.
- Users pay a small fee, with a money-back guarantee, to connect with the experts either instantly or at a scheduled time. For example, a user looking for SEO advice can find experts selling time from $1 a minute to $25 a "helpout."
- Major brands have already been identified as "experts" by Google and can now offer their advice to Helpout users, supporting their position as a thought leader. Participating brands include Sephora, One Medical and Weight Watchers.
What Google is tapping into here is that users already head to their site to find advice on just about everything. By presenting certain brands and individuals as experts, users can find a sense of trust in listening to the advice, and brands can help support their image by offering valuable knowledge on topics. The real question is this: Will users pay for information they can likely find free somewhere across the web?