Google Helpouts: Yay or Nay?

VivianaGoogle on Tuesday introduced Helpouts to connect customers to experts for one-on-one teaching sessions. The tool enables people to “get real help from real people in real time“.

What does that mean? You search for a topic you need help with and chose a “teacher” that can explain you whatever you need to know. For example, you can request a Wardrobe Stylist consultation, Spanish lesson or get support for home repair. The teacher sets a price for their time spent with you and Google gets chunk of that money, naturally.

Looks pretty cool, right? Many people think so, others not so much. Reactions from both camps have been quite strong.
Here is a snapshot of the main arguments:

New or Old?

While some declare the new marketplace for real-time help a game-changer…

And see Google as a leader in innovation…

SummiyahMalik

This is AWESOME. Google be the God of Internet innovation and initiation t.co/BHaXfJbqRP

Others accuse Google of copying their Startup idea…

And some are simply not sure what we can expect from it.

Community or Business?

Are Google Helpouts going to help people find useful advice or will the space will overloaded with “retail heavy-hitters” trying to gain more visibility?

It’s quite hard to say at this stage. Google Helpouts already offer some great expert tips for free.

At the same time, many small businesses will turn to this platform to promote their services and use it as yet another way to try and grab attention of their potential customers.

Awesome or Lame?

What do you think?

You can find the original Storify here.

Free Australia: Defining Our Strategy

Last week was full of tough decisions and changes for us here at Knowinger.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Light (Photo credit: Brett Jordan)

I guess one has to get used to this turmoil working in a startup environment, where the rules are not yet written. In one way, I look at chaos as an initial and somehow unavoidable part of growth. It is a stage when you question your decisions on a daily basis, look for new ways of doing things and re-think what you already considered being solved. It can be depressing and tiring, but exciting at the same time. There is a light at the end of every tunnel and the longer the tunnel, the brighter the light when you finally get out.

Yes, I would call myself an optimist 🙂

Back to the two points I wanted to share with you, because they are extremely important for us and the way we will be developing our product further.

Free

We decided to offer our product completely free. Obviously, we have plans how to monetize Knowinger, but the basic product will be free for everyone. We are therefore moving to a freeminum category of products where most of the users enjoy the advantages of the platform without paying any fees. We have been discussing this option for some time but were inclined more towards a pay-per-student model we originally planned to launch with. What led us to change this decision? Well, few things actually.

  1. We are honestly committed to broaden access to education for everyone.
  2. We need to attract as many people as possible to get the right traction.
  3. Our long term plans are to head towards SaaS model with additional features for both students and teachers – the basic marketplace product thus needs to be free to remove any potential barriers for people to use it.
  4. Andreas, our dear friend and advisor, who has been suggesting this for some time.

Free

Australia

Again, a tough decision to be made, but one that has been on the table since we started working on Knowinger. “Do we launch globally, do we only hand-pick few cities or do we focus ourselves on one country?” These were the questions we were discussing and all of them have their pros and cons. We finally made our decision and will only be launching our Beta education marketplace in Australia (and New Zealand). We are definitely committed to expand as soon as we will have the resources to do so, but at this point of time, this seems to be the most feasible option.

We are making progress every day and although everything takes a bit longer than we expected (yes, I know, it’s normal), we are getting closer to our goal. So wish us luck!