Amit Singh, VP of enterprise sales and operations at Google, announced the change at Atmosphere 2011, a gathering of Google's business customers being held on Monday and Tuesday at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
"Customers of all industries, of all shapes and sizes, are all moving to the cloud," said Singh.
Previously, Google offered 24 x 7 phone support, but only for critical issues. The core services, as Google defines them, are Gmail, Calendar, Groups, Docs, Sites, and Video. Google will continue to maintain its online help services. A company spokesperson declined to provide details about how or where Google is running its call centers.
The company's decision to expand its phone support comes as it continues make progress moving customers from traditional, on-premises software to its hosted cloud services.
Singh said that Google Apps is now used by 4 million businesses and 40 million people, with 5,000 more businesses joining daily. The many individuals and small businesses using the free version of Google Apps do not have access to phone support.
[ Google has just launched Google+ Pages. Find out how businesses can participate in Google's social network. ]
Singh announced a handful of new converts to Google's cloud, including Burberry, Casio, Goodyear, Guardian, Perry Ellis, and Softbank. No mention was made of General Motors, said to be negotiating with Google for contractual terms favorable enough to allow it to switch from Lotus Notes to Google Apps.
Singh noted that 80% Google Apps customers overall and 90% of large enterprise customers say they're satisfied with Google Apps support and that Google wants to improve that statistic to 95%. He also said that more than 90% of Google Apps customers renew.
Google Apps users interested in offline editing--the company recently implemented offline viewing for Docs and spreadsheets--should take heart in reassurances from Jonathan Rochelle, Web apps product manager, who said that Google's engineers are "working feverishly" to enable this feature.