Google tried real hard to make Helpouts happen. The company even partnered with Ambarella for some cool wearable cameras that "experts" could use during sessions. But it wasn't meant to be, and the search giant on Friday—bad news always hits on a Friday—said Helpouts will shut down in two months. April 20, to be exact.
The service was designed to connect regular folks with experts on topics (health, home improvement, etc.) they wanted to learn more about. It sounded like a pretty killer idea, and allowed people to get real-time feedback from those who actually knew what they were talking about. It was better than seeking out the answers in community forums and the like. Regardless, Google has made the "tough decision to shut down the product." And just like that, an entire community goes dark.
Google says the Helpouts community hasn't quite grown at the pace the company expected, which is why it's shutting down. With an expiring shelf life, Google said it's no longer accepting applications for new providers, and has encouraged current experts to simply abandon their posts. Folks will be able to download their Helpouts history, but once that's done, it'll all be pulled for good.
Google provides an extensive FAQ on the imminent shutdown, so if you're a provider or user of the service, I'd suggest heading over there. The idea was great, and I'm sure there was an initial period of excitement from both providers and consumers. But I think this is one of the instances when nobody will be around to hear the tree fall. So does it make a sound? The last day to get (or give) a Helpout will be April 19, after which the service will shut down. Hope you weren't in the middle of any major projects.
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