Google Hangouts Used By Google As A Virtual Genius Bar To Sell Its Devices

After expanding its Hangouts video conferencing into a commercial platform simply called Helpouts in 2013, Google has taken another step towards making the service more attractive by transplanting a free version of it into its own business to help with sales of its products. The company is now running a live video chat service for potential buyers of Google smartphones, Chromebooks, and tablets to pose questions and chats to Google Device Experts about the products before deal are eventually finalised.

TechCrunch was tipped off by a couple of people currently working on the project, with further confirmation coming from Google as well. As a matter of fact, some of the details have been confirmed by Google.

“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.”

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The service according to TechCrunch went live in November, and is being run as a test through the Devices channel of Google Play at the initial stage. Google however, wants the idea extended to more places both “virtual and physical.”

“They are also planning to go into retail stores with a virtual help desk to enhance the shopping experience,” a source informed TechCrunch, who also went ahead to describe the bigger project as “Google’s virtual Genius Bar,” in referring to the “Apple Retail in-store operation where Apple employees, lined up behind a bar, offer in-person technical support on Apple devices.”

What is still not clear is how long Google is willing to follow up on the concept of a virtual help desk in retail locations.

To get the feature, you will have to navigate through the online Google Play Store to the devices category, and once you are there, you can select the help icon in the upper right corner. You will be provided with an option of making a video call to desk to ask more questions if you are interested in buying a device. The feature is available live to visitors between 6am and 6pm Pacific time.

Google’s plan to diversify from its primary service, which is the search engine, will be further boosted by a service like this. This will ultimately drive more sales, and encourage interaction with its customers, which is a very important way of improving its business and staying ahead of competition. It is a good move by the company, and hopefully more updates on this would be available in the coming days.

Author: Ola Ric

Ola Ric is a professional tech writer. He has written and provided tons of published articles for professionals and private individuals. He is also a social commentator and analyst, with relevant experience in the use of social media services.

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