Google reportedly tests Helpouts, an e-commerce platform with Hangout-like video

Google is testing a new e-commerce platform, called Helpouts, which would allow users to buy and sell products through video, according to a new report.

TechCrunch reported on Wednesday - citing leaked mock-ups and an anonymous tipster - that Google had been experimenting with Helpouts since June. A public release for the platform will allegedly arrive in about a month.

Helpouts seems to rely on Google Hangouts, with the Helpouts themselves appearing as live video classes or scheduled video sessions. Example Helpouts include a karate instructor to provide martial arts seminars or even a plumber demonstrating how to fix a toilet.

Each video class would cost consumers a small fee or nothing at all, depending on what the seller designates. The platform, which offers a range of categories such as repair, education and food, would specifically allow sellers to create profiles and adjust scheduling and payment options, while consumers will have access to search and discovery tools.

Google has allegedly partnered with companies like One Medical Group, Sears, Alliance Francaise and Weight Watchers, so it appears things are on the fast track. Apparently, only a few employees at the company were aware of Helpouts until recently.

That seems unlikely, considering a team of two-dozen engineers has purportedly developed Helpouts over the last year. Helpouts was also recently the subject of a company-wide meeting.

The platform's launch date is unclear, as well as whether it will have any connection to YouTube, and TechCrunch warned that Helpouts could just be an experiment that might eventually go the way of Reader and Wave.