Graduate From Google: Tech Giant launches ‘online university’ that uses live video chat to teach

Google has launched an online ‘video university’ to give lessons in everything from cooking to DIY.

The Helpouts service launches today, and has over 1,000 providers signed up, ranging from chefs to psychotherapists.

Users can access the service by searching for Helpouts on Google via their desktop, or downloading the app via an Android device.

Customers will pay by the minute for live video chats with providers – although some firms will offer free sessions to boost their brand.

Providers will give the search giant 20 per cent of their fee, which can range from a few pence a minute to hundreds of pounds for medical advice and therapy.

‘Helpouts is a marketplace for services over live video, from music and yoga lessons to healthcare,’ said Google’s Udi Manber, who ran Google’s search operation before working on the new service.

‘We’ve been running this at Google for several months now, and we think efficiency and convenience always win.’

Google has been testing the service with its own staff, including its in-house nutritionist who used the service to look through people’s fridges at home and tell them what to eat.

It believes live video will become dramatically more popular, and hopes its experience with YouTube will allow it to exploit the technology.

‘Live video today reminds me of the beginning of the web, and it will improve in the same way.

‘There are three areas the web can offer more convenience in  – ease of use, removing geographic and time barriers – if you want a personal trainer at 5am, it’s a good time somewhere in the world.’

Google will also vet those signing up to offer lessons. ‘Everybody on the platform is invited by us,’ said Manber.

‘There’s a whole QA team checking background, for the medical field we are checking credentials.’ Over 1,000 people have signed up to offer video lessons.

Users will pay via Google’s wallet service which holds their credit card details, and the firm said it will offer to refund users entirely if they are not happy with the advice they receive.

The service will be available via a desktop computer and an Android app.

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