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Google Helpout live vids: Helping you help us help ourselves, says web giant

Pack up, 'how-to' publishers - the boys from Mountain View are moving in

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Bottom-feeders beware! Google is now attempting to eat into "how to" websites with the launch of its latest service dubbed "Helpouts".

Just last month, Google said it was toying with the idea of allowing big banner ads to run at the top of its search results pages.

Now the ad giant is searching other corners of the web for revenue by getting into the unglamorous world of online "handy tips".

It's possible, then, that when netizens use Google to input search terms such as, for example, "how to clean my dogs ears" or "how to get my cat out of the tree" or "how to hug another man", they will be offered a service from the Larry Page-run company that significantly sits alongside a results page of publishers who already make their money from that market.

Mountain View, which has been barrelling its way through a variety of vertical search markets over the past few years, is trying to distinguish its product from the competition by saying that Helpouts will provide such tips over live video - at a price.

Google explained its latest strategy in a blog post:

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.

It said that Helpouts was starting out "small and in a few categories." Google is hoping to grow the biz over time. ®

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