Google Helpouts Introduced for DIYers Looking for Video Guidance

PHOTO: Helpouts, a new video chat service from Google, connects people who have questions to people who have answers.

Have you ever followed a recipe to the letter and still questioned what went wrong when faced with a lackluster result? Like why your scrambled eggs aren't fluffing up or why your brownie batter is more like brownie sludge?

Google has become for many the go-to place for do-it-yourselfers seeking an answer, but now the company is taking it a step further.

"What if you could get someone knowledgeable to get you 'unstuck' when you really need it?" said Udi Manber on Google's blog. The company's solution is Helpouts, a new video chatting application that connects people with questions to people with answers. "Our goal is simple: help people help each other."

But it's not a free-for-all, where any person with a webcam can start dispensing pearls of wisdom. People who want to start their own Helpout need to be invited by Google, though they can request an invitation on the Helpout website itself.

Though many Helpouts are free, several charge for their service. "With Helpouts, you can choose who you get help from based on their qualifications, their availability, their price, their ratings and reviews," said Manber.

So the thought of paying money for cooking advice on the Internet may be a little easier to swallow if it's coming from internationally renowned chocolatiers or former Top Chef contestants.

Manber acknowledged that Helpouts has a lot of potential, but that it will take time for it to fully develop. However, he is optimistic. "Today is just the beginning," he said. "It's time to make getting good help a whole lot easier."

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