Google CEO Larry Page speaks in public again

Google said in June that its CEO would not speak at upcoming company events for an unspecified period

Google's CEO Larry Page spoke for the first time in public in months, addressing the company's annual Zeitgeist conference in Paradise Valley, Arizona on Tuesday, a spokesman confirmed.

Page has not spoken in public since June, when a company spokeswoman said he had lost his voice and would not be speaking at the company's upcoming public events, including the Google I/O developer conference scheduled for the next week.

Earlier Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt had told shareholders at Google's Mountain View headquarters that Page would not be speaking at the developer conference, and also possibly at the company's second-quarter earnings call, scheduled for July. Page did not speak at the shareholder event.

The Google spokeswoman did not provide information on the medical condition that had affected Page's voice. He was noticed to have difficulty in speaking and his voice was strained in his recent speeches at the time.

Page spoke at the Zeitgeist conference with a hoarse voice, but went on to address a number of issues including Google's negotiations with antitrust regulators. "Obviously, we are very big in terms of our impact, and with that comes scrutiny, and we accept and welcome that," said Page who added that the company has had a good debate with regulators. It has taken the approach to work with the regulators, and hopes it will continue to work well, he added.

"Over-regulation of the Internet and restriction in what people can do is a big risk for us," Page said.

Referring to the debate over the company's new privacy policy introduced in March, and which allowed combining of information across its products, he said that "virtually everything that we want to do, I think, is somewhat at odds with locking down all your information for uses that you haven't contemplated yet. We don't actually know how the Internet is going to work 10 years from now. So I think it's a mistake to start carving out large classes of things that you don't really understand yet, that you don't want to let people do." That is the approach a lot of regulators are taking, which is sad, he added.

Page, Google's co-founder, replaced Schmidt as CEO last year.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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