Google has used its Hangouts technology in many ways over the last couple of years, and one big way was the introduction of a new service called “Helpouts” that lets people sell their expertise to others over video conferencing. Now, it looks like Google is bringing Hangouts to a new area: customer service on the Google Play store.

With a quick press of a button, browsers of the Play Store devices section can quickly hop on a call with an expert from Google to get help with a purchase. Google confirmed the existence of the service to TechCrunch:

“We’re always improving features to help our users,” said a spokesperson. “We’re in a limited trial of an experimental support feature and gathering feedback, so we aren’t ready to share full plans yet.”

A source claims that the Mountain View company has much bigger plans for the service than just a “Video call” button in the Play Store, though. “They are also planning to go into retail stores with a virtual help desk to enhance the shopping experience.” The source apparently referred to the project as a whole as Google’s attempt at a “virtual Genius Bar”.

If you want to try out the feature, you need to hit up the Google Play Store devices section between 6 AM and 6 PM Pacific time. You’ll need to click the small “help” button in the top-right corner, after which you’ll see a small button called “Video call” under the Contact Us section.

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Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.