Google grew up providing a number of free services (email, search, etc.) Given that they were free, it was not unreasonable to avoid providing any live customer support via email or phone. Users weren't paying anything, so if they had a problem they could try to solve it on the boards. In fact, I have criticized whiners on boards for their absurd expectations of customer support for a free product.
Today, Google now offers a number of paid services (e.g. Adwords search advertising) but it still brings its old customer service mentality to these free services. I pay thousands of dollars a year in advertising to Google, and many others pay much more than this. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no option for support from a real person on my advertising account. Sure, there is a section marked "contact us" on their web sit, but all that is is a fairly lame troubleshooting script that does not lead to any sort of contact form or phone number. Just try searching "how do I contact google adwords" to see all the frustration.
I know many companies that are able to provide live support for a $12 purchase, much less a $1200 purchase. Even Intuit Quickbooks, which pretty much defines the low end of customer service in my little world, is easier to reach than Google.
In the past, I have recommended Google Adwords because it gets results. While that is still true, I have to withdraw my recommendation. Right now, my account is effectively closed -- though not, as you might expect, in a fit of pique from 5 hours of trying to get an answer to a simple account question. It's closed because something broke, and I cannot get it fixed. The only workaround on the boards for this problem is to close my account (and lose all the records of past search terms used, campaign success details., etc) and open a new account. Roughly the equivalent of tearing your house down to fix a bad electrical outlet. No way. I was looking for a way to economize and Google has apparently just volunteered themselves as my target. Thousands of dollars of revenue tossed because they wanted to save five bucks of labor.