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Google trials videos-based e-commerce service

30 July 2013 - 15:21 by Mike Price

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Google's social networking service Google+ has been the most successful of its various experiments in this marketplace. And while it may not match the likes of Facebook or Twitter in terms of user numbers and active engagement, it has made some advances.

The Hangouts feature, which lets multiple people carry out video conferencing as part of a comprehensive conversation, has been quite a hit, particularly for businesses looking to broaden their ability to engage with customers.

Now a report from TechCrunch suggests that Google is actually going to use its Hangouts technology to create something called Helpouts.

This is thought to be an e-commerce platform which will allow people to sell one another products via safe shopping online, all through the medium of video chats.

Sources suggest that Google has been working on Helpouts for some time and began trialling it back in June, with a wider launch expected to take place in the next 30 days or so.

The products on sale via Helpouts will not necessarily be tangible, but will instead give people the ability to monetise video streams in which they provide instructions to others.

The idea is that people will be able to take a cookery class, karate lesson or even a plumbing course via Helpouts, with schedules ensuring that everyone knows when each session is going to take place.

Users will be expected to pay for their access to the video streams just as they would any other item purchase via safe shopping online, while the content providers who are at the other end of the line will be able to determine their own prices.

Of course given that YouTube provides endless hours of free videos, covering many of the topics that will doubtlessly be available, at a price, via Helpouts, it will be interesting to see just how successful it is in the long run.