Verify your computer setup
You will need to have a computer with sufficient speed and memory to support a video chat session. You will also need a broadband internet connection. And since it will be a video chat, the computer will need to have both working speakers and a microphone. Most people find a headset mic works best. The exact setup isn't important just as long as you can hear, and be heard clearly.
For more help on the minimum requirements for a helpout, see the help center article: https://support.google.com/helpouts/answer/3164686?hl=en&ref_topic=14126
Install the Helpout Plugin
Next you will need to install the Google Hangouts plugin which is the platform used by Google Helpouts. Start by going to https://www.google.com/tools/dlpage/hangoutplugin?authuser=0 and click the blue download button.
This will down an executable installer (probably called GoogleVoiceAndVideoSetup.exe) which you need to run. It only takes a few moments.
For more help with the requirements to participate in a helpout, see the help center article: https://support.google.com/helpouts/answer/3497783?hl=en&ref_topic=14126
Have a practice Helpout
With the above steps completed, the next thing you will want to do is have a free practice helpout with a member of the Google Helpouts team. This will allow you to:
- Test your setup to make sure everything works OK.
- Experience how you schedule and start a Helpout session.
- Play with any of the available tools.
- Ask any questions you have about Helpouts to a Google employee.
- Completing a practice session will make your first real Helpout session go much smoother.
For more general help with Google helpouts, see the help center article: https://support.google.com/helpouts/#topic=14126
Setup Google Wallet
If you are going to use a paid Helpout provider, you will need to have Google Wallet setup in the Google account you will use for the session. Again, this should be done before the session so no time is wasted with payment issues when you are trying to get started.
Start by going to the Google Wallet page and create an account. https://wallet.google.com/
For more help with Google Wallet, see the help center article: https://support.google.com/wallet/?hl=en#topic=3209987
Some Helpout topics will require the host to be able to see documents or setting on your computer. This is especially true of topics related to computer problems or help with a computer application you use. This will require you to use the screen-sharing tool in Helpouts. For the best results you will want to close any unneeded windows or programs before starting the Helpout session. You may also want to further prepare by opening anything you know you will be sharing during the Helpout so it's available without delay when you need it.
There are a variety of other tools available during a Helpout which you or the host may want to use.
Your first Helpout
So after doing all of the above to get ready, now what? If you haven't already done so, go to the Google Helpouts site and search or browser for a Helpout you would like to attend. Once you've found a Helpout, there will be several options available:
And don't forget to have fun.
Hopefully this article has provided you with the information you need to prepare for and have a successful Helpout session. Once you've completed one, feel free to browse the topics available and have more sessions.