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.
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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.