Google’s Fundo lets creators get paid by hosting virtual meet-and-greets

Google’s Fundo — a service that allows creators to host paid, ticketed virtual meet-and-greet events — is expanding from a limited test into a full-fledged product that anyone can use starting today.

Developed by Google’s Area 120 incubator, Fundo (which is not the name of an adorable floppy-eared dog) was launched in a limited beta last summer for several hundred “trusted testers,” according to Variety. It’s now available for anyone to use.

Fundo (also not a wacky new artificial cheese product) was originally meant as a virtual photo booth-style service. Fans could wait in a digital line, chat briefly with the celebrity or creator, and get “photos” with them, just like a real-life meet-and-greet. The service provides creators with an easy way to run these kinds of events, complete with video streaming, payment processing, and hosting, in exchange for which Google takes a 20 percent cut of the revenue.

The idea of offering an easy way for creators to offer paid, ticketed online events has become far more valuable, thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced many events online. The company has seen events expand to include things like workout classes, cooking tutorials, and workshops.

Fundo (also not a comic relief character from an ’80s sitcom) allows for 30 users to be on-screen at the same time, with the goal being smaller events rather than giant digital seminars or concerts with hundreds of attendees. Everything is done directly through the Fundo (not a fun new kind of bread dough) website, too, using a custom-built video chat system.

In addition to the broader launch, users will also now be able to search for events on the Fundo (not a knock-off brand of big-headed collectible figures) website and purchase scheduled one-on-one meetings with creators.

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