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Google Helpouts Joins Google Answers, Knol In The Deadpool
Virtual learning and advice platform shuttered for lack of usage.
Google Helpouts, the company’s virtual advice and learning program, built on Hangouts, is heading to the deadpool. It was launched in late 2013. But this morning Google announced it would be shuttered on April 20.
Here’s how Google described the ambitious program when it launched:
With Helpouts, you can choose who you get help from based on their qualifications, their availability, their price, their ratings and reviews. You can connect instantly or book in advance. You can get help from individuals or from brands you already know and trust, like Sephora, One Medical, Weight Watchers, Redbeacon (a Home Depot company), and Rosetta Stone. Once you’re in a Helpout, you can do more than just talk—you can share your computer screen, collaboratively edit a presentation, or record your Helpout. And if the experience doesn’t meet your expectations, we offer a full money back guarantee.
Today is just the beginning. We’re starting small and in a few categories. The number of people giving help on Helpouts and the type of help available will grow over time. Helpouts may not be suitable for every occasion, and it will take time to get used to interactions via real time video. We hope that the efficiency, convenience and global reach of Helpouts will make people’s lives easier in the long term.
This morning Google sent out an email announcing the closure to users:
Since launching in 2013, Helpouts has been a home for people to connect with experts on topics they want to learn about or seek advice and solutions to everyday problems. The Helpouts community includes some engaged and loyal contributors, but unfortunately, it hasn’t grown at the pace we had expected. Sadly, we’ve made the tough decision to shut down the product.
Google probably didn’t do enough to promote it to users. Then again there may have simply been too many questions about its value and too much logistical complexity for most users.
One could see this in the context of the failures of Google Knol or Google Answers (much earlier). These were broadly similar services intended to deliver customized or expert information to users. Google also bought Q&A service Aardvark and later moved its team over to Google+ and shut the service down.
Google Knol was championed by Udi Manber, who also appeared to be one of the leads behind Helpouts. Manber just left the company, which may also be partly responsible for the decision to shut it down.