Google has announced that it is shutting down Helpouts, the online platform that allowed everyday people to sell their skills and services online via video chat.
In announcing the closure, Google said Helpouts has been a home for people to connect with experts on topics they want to learn about or seek advice and solutions to everyday challenges. Although the community includes some engaged and loyal contributors, it simply hasn’t grown at the pace they had expected and as a result, the decision was made to shut it down on April 20, 2015.
On that date, users will be able to download their Helpouts history using Google Takeout. This service will remain available until November 1 of this year.
As TechCrunch highlights, Helpouts may have been doomed from the get-go. While not necessarily a bad idea on its own, it does somewhat overlap with Google’s other video site – YouTube. Sure, you can’t connect with a live person on YouTube but if you look hard enough, odds are that you’ll find that recipe or photography tip free of charge.
Recent changes in tax laws in the EU likely didn’t help matters, either. Residents in Ireland and the UK, for example, are now only able to offer free Helpouts and those in need of advice can only accept free Helpouts. I doubt there are very many people sitting around webcams waiting to dole out advice when monetization isn’t an option.