Google, not content with already dominating the email, smartphone and Internet in general, has moved deeper into the world of customer satisfaction and social networking with the launch of Google Helpouts.
However, this time it's a technology that could really help your business out too.
Think of Helpouts as a service that some businesses have already started to implement, an always-on live customer service assistant who you can talk to via video.
Helpouts isn't targeted as this, nor as a customer service tool, but that's essentially how it can be used to help boost your business. And if Google is doing it, and getting it right, it really takes a lot of pressure off your business to get a similar service off the ground.
Currently, Helpouts plans to be a live video-chat network of more than 1,000 experts across a wide variety of subjects. These experts can offer up insight and teach others about their key subject, almost like a personal tutor. Having been selected through a screening process, and allowed to set their own prices, these experts could teach someone how to play guitar, how to cook a roast, or general DIY tasks. It's really pretty limitless in scope.
It helps facilitate truly interactive learning too as it's not your pre-recorded video on YouTube where ambiguity can be rife. It's a two-way street and you can even make use of screen-sharing technology to help resolve issues with software that a customer may be having trouble with.
Already some companies, such as Rosetta Stone, Weight Watchers and One Medical, have signed up to Helpouts and are offering up advice for free.
It's certainly a powerful tool for any business looking to reach out to its customers. And, as it'll work across computers, tablets and smartphones – and is totally embedded within Android architecture – there's little worry about how difficult it could be to contact someone through the medium.
Of course, this also works in Google's favour as they'll be granted a rather generous helping of Google+ users and Google Wallet will also see a boost as that's how payments are made.
It's an interesting move by Google too, especially as Amazon has announced a âMayday' video chat feature with their new Kindle HDX tablet – allowing users to speak to someone instantly if an issue arises.
Perhaps, if anything, this means a far more personal future with a cold, hard computers.