Hypochondriacs around the world are being treated to a new online service that promises to put the nerves of anyone anxiously googling Ebola (or any other disease symptoms) at ease.
Google "Helpouts" will pair concerned users with medical professionals via video, and should (theoretically) dissuade patients from misdiagnosing themselves through masochistic web searches of their symptoms.
Google confirmed to Engadget that Helpouts is currently at "limited trial" stage. It means that currently Google is covering the costs of chatting to a healthcare professional online, but if the service ever launches on a broader scale you will likely have to fork out for these virtual appointments.
Hangouts + Commerce = Google Helpouts
As yet, very few details of how exactly this service will work in practice are available, but what is known is that the practitioners listed on the service will need to prove their credentials and be licensed and vetted to take part in the scheme.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Helpouts won't just be limited to medicine. It is intended as a sort of "How To" style service, where people can gain live, one-one-one advice across a broad range of industries. For example, a stranded cyclist could use Helpouts to get personalised roadside advice on fixing a flat tire.
Google Helpouts will also be available on mobile devices, meaning you can check in for a check-up even when you're on the bus. All payment will be handled via Google Wallet – that is, the company's mobile payments service.