Google CEO Breaks His Silence To Warn Against Government Regulation

Larry Page

Photo: Google

Google cofounder Larry Page is back on stage.At the company’s annual Zeitgeist conference for partners, the company’s CEO made his first public speech since June, when Google announced that an illness had led to Page losing his voice.

The Wall Street JournalĀ reports that his voice was “raspy” and that Page said he was “still a little hoarse but I’m here and I’m happy about that.”

What brought Page back? Among other topics he covered, Page said he was worried about government regulation of the Internet, but “hopeful” that Google could work with antitrust regulators.

That’s a prospect his company is now facing, as the Federal Trade Commission is reportedly considering taking action against Google for misuse of its dominant position in Web search. The European Union is also investigating Google over its privacy policies.

“I do think over-regulation of the Internet and restriction of what people can do is a big risk for us,” Page said.

He gave Google Now, the voice-recognition system for Android phones, as an example of something the company couldn’t do under its older patchwork of privacy policies.

Page hardly helped his case, though, when he noted that Google’s inclusion of its own mapping service in search results had driven rivals out of the market.

“People said, ‘there’s MapQuest …'” Page said, referring to the AOL maps program. “No one uses them anymore.”

That’s not exactly true, but in any event, it’s not a smart thing for the CEO of a company facing antitrust scrutiny to say.

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