Google Helpouts is a new service that connects you live to real experts who can help you with a variety of problems. Whether it’s a household plumbing problem, a tricky tech problem, or how to stick to your diet over the holidays, there’s someone on Helpouts who can assist. Here’s a look at some of the best and most useful Helpouts we could find.
Google Helpouts is only a few days old, but one popular misconception is that all of the helpout sessions are expensive. In fact, many of them are completely free, and even the ones that aren’t are often very well priced for the type of help you get. We rounded up a bunch of the best free tutorials and sessions available at Google Helpouts, for everything from cooking classes to home improvement to computer troubleshooting.
Basic Cooking from the Rouxbe Online Cooking School is a free class that will get your basic cooking questions answered. It’s less of a cooking class (although they also have those) and more of a Q&A session with real chefs and cooks that can help you with your pressing kitchen issues. This Helpout is just one of many offered by the school, and the school is one of Google’s launch partners, so if you’re interested in more classes and topics, they have them available.
Redbeacon is a Home Depot company that specializes in helping people with their household repairs and other DIY fixes or upgrades. Their experts are available to tackle all sorts of household issues, and help give you advice on what you should do, where you should go for more information, and whether the job you’re trying to DIY is one you should really call a professional for. Whether you’re installing new appliances, putting in flooring, replacing a sink or faucet, or shopping for a new ceiling fan, they can help.
If you’re interested in learning to code but don’t know where to start, or want someone who understands the learning process and the subject matter to offer their advice, these free Helpouts from Clayton Rieck, a CS major, teaching assistant, and tutor, might give you some leads. If you’re looking at a tricky problem, he may be able to help. He’s not an enterprise programmer or anything, but he’s one of the things that makes Helpouts great—someone offering their experience to people who have questions about how to get started doing what he’s doing.
The Banfield Pet Hospital is another one of Google’s launch partners for Helpouts, and they have a number of sessions offering pet owners great tips and answers to any questions they may have about caring for their companions. You can book time to chat with a veterinarian to talk about your pet’s diet, exercise, overall health and well being, vaccinations, and get tips on regular and general preventative care. It’s especially useful if you’re a new pet owner (and naturally have lots of questions) or want to know what you’re getting into if you adopt an animal to your home.
Whether you’re interested in learning how to play the guitar, or you’re already a musician who could use some help promoting himself, Matt Gibson is willing to answer your questions in this Google Helpout. While the point of the Helpout is to teach people to play the guitar, find their own sound and style, and really learn to love the instrument, he’s also a musician of his own and happy to share the techniques required to get your music in front of people who can help promote it, get endorsed by music production companies, take better recordings, and even learn to promote yourself via social media.
If you’re a veteran, active-duty, reserve, National Guard, or even in a military family or household and could use someone to talk to, Kristie Holmes Ph.D., LCSW is offering her services to the military community as part of the Give an Hour community service program. Members of the service and their families are invited to participate, spend some time talking to her about their mental health challenges and issues, and she’ll offer complimentary and confidential counseling in turn. It’s a really good thing she’s doing, and a service that’s sorely needed (and one that I hope that any of you, if you’re reading, qualify, and feel like you need, take advantage of.)
I’ll admit, I’ve always wanted to take a Tai Chi class, but I never really knew how to get started or where to go to find one in my community. Thanks to this Google Helpout, I can essentially stand in front of my TV or computer and take a virtual Tai Chi class led in real time by instructor Hendrix Yuri, who has over a decade of experience in the subject, and has taught classes before. He even says that if you want, he’ll teach martial techniques—but that’s not what the Helpout is for—it’s really Tai Chi for exercise, flexibility, and activity. If you’re interested in martial arts and self defense, Yuri has a separate Google Helpout designed to teach martial arts and self-defense skills that anyone can join (it’s also free!)
There comes a time in every cook’s life, whether you’re cooking at home for a family dinner or you’re cooking for a large affair like a holiday meal or dinner party, where you’re not sure exactly what you’re trying to do. Things turn out poorly: grey steaks, limp veggies, or soggy pies. Sherród Faulks is a chef and food blogger with a number of credentials under his belt, and he’s willing to answer your pressing cooking questions and help you make better food at home through this Google Helpout. You don’t have to be in the kitchen to talk to him, but if you have a tricky cooking question, want to know why your rolls never come out fluffy or your roasts are always dry, he can help you out.
Looking to take better photographs or improve your photography skills? Well, we have a guide to help, but if you want to chat with a professional photographer about your specific camera, what the buttons and settings do on it, how you can improve your “eye” for good shots, or what kind of camera or photography gear your should invest in and what you should stay away from, this Helpout can help you.
Living in an apartment or a small space in the city doesn’t have to mean giving up on a container garden, a little herb garden, or your dream of being a little more sustainable and growing some of your own food. In this Helpout, you’ll get tips and suggestions for garden size, what to grow, where to grow it, and how to take care of your plants all taking your specific situation into account. You’ll get tips on the herbs and veggies you should pick for your climate and personal preferences, and how to make it work with your space or any available shared space for planting.
If you want to learn the ins and outs of coffee, we have a guide for that too, but if you have questions about home brewing, the art (and the science) of roasting your own beans and brewing the perfect cup, and where your coffee probably comes from, this Helpout is a free opportunity to talk to a coffee enthusiast and home roasting fanatic about the topic. Ideally geared towards people who love coffee but don’t really consider it a hobby or a passion just yet, it’s a great way to learn more.
If you’re looking for live answers to your technology problems from someone who’s been doing tech support for various companies and products for a long time, Jeffrey Hellman is willing to offer his expertise via Google Helpouts. He notes that he’s willing to take a stab at your computer problems over Helpouts, or help you pick great service technicians outside of Helpouts if you need to take your computer somewhere else to be serviced, or he can just answer your technology questions.
Whether you’re in the market for a home or you’re just looking to do some improvements on your current one, Jeff Bond can help you make sure you’re getting your money’s worth with your home inspection, and help you pick a good contractor from a bad one. He’s been a home inspector and general contractor for over 25 years, and is willing to look at issues you’re concerned with and answer your home improvement and DIY questions, not to mention help you find reputable contractors and repair people to address the problem the right way.
GIMP is a remarkably powerful image editor and processing tool. However, it has a bit of a reputation for being difficult to use and find your way around, and part of that is for good reason—the app can be pretty dense. This Helpout with photographer Patrick David will help you learn to use GIMP and other free, open-source photo editing tools to get your images processed, retouched, and in tip top shape. You’ll learn retouching, color corrections, and other photo manipulations, and it’s all free.
Ludovic Bezy is a classically trained French Chef with over 25 years of experience, and he’s willing to help you start planning now for your Thanksgiving dinner. Whether you plan to roast a bird and make a few sides or throw a lavish get together for family and friends, he can help you plan, organize your event and your dishes so you’re not running all over the kitchen, pair flavors, dishes, and drinks, and even entertain your guests without mopping your brow every time you leave the kitchen. It’s not quite the same as having a chef in the kitchen with you on Thanksgiving, but Bezy’s tips will stick with you when the cooking starts.
All of these Helpouts are completely free, although it’s important to note that the person you’re working with may limit the duration of the session, the topics covered, or may use the free Helpout as an opportunity to plug paid Helpouts later, or offer you additional services for a fee. Keep that in mind when you get started.
If you do have a little money to spend, this nutrition counseling helpout by One Medical Group is a $65, 45-minute investment in your health and well being. You’ll get individualized counseling for your diet and nutrition needs, and concrete suggestions to help you aim for your health goals. $45 per helpout or $1 per minute will get you into this personal training helpout with a former strength and conditioning coach for the US Air Force Academy. Food lovers can drop $20 for this helpout on plating and making your meals look stunning. It’s 15 minutes, but by the end, the folks from Kitchit will have you plating your weeknight dinners like a pro. If you’re a fan of Top Chef, you’ll be happy to know that Top Chef University is a Google Helpouts launch partnet, and $20 gets you hands-on, individual training on topics from basic cooking techniques to learning global cuisine.
The beauty of Google Helpouts is that anyone—from huge companies and media agencies to individuals looking to share their skills or make a few bucks can all sign up to offer their services to anyone who happens to need them. If you haven’t, take a look at what’s available at Google Helpouts. Odds are you’ll find someone who has something to teach that you’ve been wanting to learn.