Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2013 - 10:41 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: google, google helpouts, google hangouts
Video conferencing has been easy, and free, for quite some time now. Perhaps a little one-on-one instruction can encourage users to pay for a service? Maybe the expert will offer their advice for free? Google Helpouts, a free or premium video conferencing service, allows experts to share their knowledge and maybe charge a fee for their time.
Payments are, for both ends of the transaction, managed by Google Wallet. Appointments could be scheduled based on availability and cancellation fees can be applied to discourage no-shows. 20% of monies raised will go to Google and include credit card and Wallet fees. This leaves the instructor with a healthy 80% to claim on their income tax.
Google will assist users in setting up a merchant account for their Wallet service. Attempts to require payments outside of the Helpouts service could be considered fraud and breaching the terms of service.
In the event of terrible service, customers will be allowed to request a refund. The merchant will be able to, voluntarily, offer a refund for their services and, if the customer is still unsatisfied, Google will be able to review the session recording and determine if a refund is warranted. Customers who opt-out of having their session recorded cannot request a refund from Google. Conferences which cannot be saved, such as those in the Health and Counseling category, are automatically eligible for their "100% Money Back Guarantee".
The age requirement for creating a Google Helpout starts at 18 although customers can be as young as 13. There is currently no information on availability. Interested experts are able to sign up to request an invitation.
There is, also, no word on whether screen sharing software is, or will be, included for instructors without a convenient whiteboard. That would be cool, though.
Subject: General Tech | May 20, 2013 - 07:42 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: google voice, google talk, google hangouts, google
One of the neat features of the chat application built into the Gmail web interface is the ability to receive and place phone calls to and from your Google Voice number. And unlike the Google Voice interface, calls placed using the Gmail Talk chat widget are completely free.
Unfortunately, the new Hangouts replacement (currently not mandatory) brought over from Google + does not support the calling features of Google Talk. As such, users wanting to call phones and not just video chat with other Google + users will need to stick with the old Google Talk chat or use Google Voice and pay for outbound calls.
The good news is that the phone call features will be rolled into the new Hangouts feature eventually. According to Google employee Nikhyl Singhal, “outbound/inbound calls will soon be available.” He also indicated that future versions of Hangouts will further integrate the feature set of Google Voice (which likely refers to SMS). Unless you particularly want video chatting, I would recommend sticking with Google Talk until the new version of Hangouts is more fleshed out.