Google Helpouts was designed to provide consumers with a place they could come to get real answers in real time. As of today, however, the real-time chat service is coming to an end.
That’s the official word from Google on the Google Helpouts webpage: “Since launching in 2013, Helpouts has been a home for people to connect with experts on topics they want to learn about…unfortunately, it hasn’t grown at the pace we had expected. Sadly, we’ve made the tough decision to shut down the product.”
According to some users of Google Helpouts, one problem with Helpouts concerned the ease of use with categories and how to find the counselor of choice, for example. The categories for Helpouts were so broad that many individuals didn’t have the patience to browse them (category titles such as Computers & Technology, Fashion & Beauty, Fitness & Nutrition, among others). Anyone who has ever wanted to ask a question about computers or technology knows that “technology” isn’t specific in the slightest (what about if I’m only interested in smartwatches but not tablets or smartphones, for example?).
Another problem with Helpouts is that the service frustrated honest practitioners with a desire to help patients for a price. Some individuals wanted more than just a few free sessions, according to Lewisville, Texas counselor Dr. Will Singleton. “These were just people who were trying to get free therapy,” referring to users he encountered while using the service.
Helpouts did not necessarily come to an end because Google held to a “build it and come mindset,” despite the claims of some tech analysts. Helpouts came to an end because Google decided to withdraw from giving Helpouts the proper care and attention it needed to grow into something more than a niche service. The same thing can be said about Google+, Mountain View’s social network service.