When Google formally announced Helpouts a little over a year ago — their 1-on-1 support platform via Hangouts — it was more aimed at connecting regular people with “experts” in a given field, selling their time while Google takes a cut. While Google Helpouts is still alive and well today, the internet search giant is now taking a cue from Helpouts to do what else, but help drive hardware sales on Google Play.
As discovered by the folks at TechCrunch, Google actually quietly rolled out this new service back in November of last year, which connects prospective buyers with one of their “Google Device Experts” in the Devices section of the Google Play Store. It really isn’t too far off from Amazon’s Mayday service in that users can quickly chat with a live human being, gaining a little extra info about a product before making a purchase.
According to those working on the project, Google has plans to eventually bring their Google Device Experts (via Hangouts) to retail locations, acting as sort of a virtual Genius Bar like those found in Apple brick and mortar stores. This means, in theory, customers could visit a location where Google products are sold and activate some sort of live chat with a Google Device Expert to learn more about a product, or even troubleshoot some issues. No need to train and place a physical human being in every location. It’s all done online through Google Hangouts.
Anyone browsing the devices section in the Google Play Store can take advantage of this service right now and as always, is provided completely free of charge. Just navigate to the top right corner of the screen and click on the little question mark bubble, then “Live chat” if you’d like to ask more questions (excluding Nest products) or see a demo of some of these products. Live chatting with a Google Device Expert is only available between 6AM and 6PM Pacific time.