Google is currently testing an ecommerce-focused service that turns its Google+ group video chat service Hangouts into a method by which businesses can provide paid services to customers, TechCrunch reports. If Google ends up releasing the service, which is reportedly being called Helpouts, it would provide a tool for service-based businesses, such as personal trainers or cooking instructors, to establish ecommerce markets.
For payment, the Helpouts system will rely on Google Wallet, a source at Google told TechCrunch. The video service will be essentially the same as Google Hangouts, but with the addition of business profiles and tools for scheduling appointments.
Internal testing at Google has reportedly been ongoing since June, and the company may release it to the public as soon as next month, according to TechCrunch.
It's an interesting idea, and Google is the best-equipped to pull it off. Google+ Hangouts were kind of a breakthrough, technologically speaking, but have so far been limited in use outside of business meetings or organized addresses, such as President Obama's Hangout this past February.
However, granting the businesses that so far have been left out of the ecommerce boom an option to reach customers in their homes - say, customers who may be interested but too lazy to get out and join a yoga class - could open an entirely new market.
The problem, of course, won't be getting businesses to try it. It'll be getting customers to follow suit.
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