Google Killing Helpouts Learning Program

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Almost exactly a year ago I wondered aloud how Helpouts was doing and whether it had any traction. My sense was “no” and that the service was languishing.

I’ve always thought it was a good idea with great potential for both users and providers. But either Google didn’t push it enough to the consumer public or those who had used it didn’t have good enough experiences to generate favorable word of mouth — or both.

Earlier this morning TechCrunch reported that Google had pulled its Helpouts app from Google Play. Now on the Helpouts site it says the service will shut down on April 20.

One could see this as another failed “Q&A” or “live advice” experiment. I think there are many reasons why it didn’t succeed.

What are your thoughts and theories?

Here’s the email that Google just released:

We have some sad news to share with you today: Helpouts will be shutting down onApril 20th, 2015. While this announcement was just posted on our site, we wanted you to hear the news directly from us.

Since launching in 2013, Helpouts has been a home for people to connect with experts on topics they want to learn about or seek advice and solutions to everyday problems. The Helpouts community includes some engaged and loyal contributors, but unfortunately, it hasn’t grown at the pace we had expected. Sadly, we’ve made the tough decision to shut down the product.

Starting April 20th, you’ll be able to download your Helpouts history using Google Takeout (available until November 1st, 2015). Until then, you can email us with any questions or concerns you have about your account or take a look at these FAQs.

We want to thank you for your support—both the providers who shared their expertise with the world, and the people who needed some extra help or advice along the way. You’ve had a lot to contribute—and we’ve loved learning alongside you.

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