Google's Page speaks, but voice is strained

“It’s great to be on the call today,” Google CEO Larry Page told analysts Thursday as he addressed them for the first time since an unexplained voice problem caused him to avoid public speaking for much of the last six months.

Page said he was glad, but it was hard to tell because his voice was still quite weak and hoarse. At times he seemed to strain as he paused between sentences. But even though he said he would keep his remarks “reasonably short,” the 39-year-old chief executive stayed on the call for its full length of an hour.

Though it would have been understandable if he then let his subordinates field most of the ensuing questions from analysts, Page gamely answered a number of them himself.  He even began some of his answers by assuring his inquisitor that he or she had asked “a good question.”

But in keeping with Page’s personality, which can be impatient at times, he told analyst Mark Mahaney of CitiGroup that “you’re asking the wrong question” when Mahaney inquired about the rate of Internet searches on desktop computers and how that relates to searches on mobile devices.

Page went on to explain that many people today move easily from one screen to another, from desktop to smartphone and so forth. But he didn’t directly answer Mahaney’s question.

Meanwhile, the Twitterverse had a field day with the accidental release of Google’s earnings report, several hours before the end of trading on Wall Street. The early filing had a note that it was “pending Larry quote,” meaning a canned statement from Page still needed to be inserted.

That prompted someone to create the @pendingLarry handle for a satirical Twitter account,  which the Merc’s Jeremy Owens documented here.

 

Brandon Bailey Brandon Bailey (350 Posts)

Brandon Bailey covers Google, Facebook and Yahoo for the San Jose Mercury News, reporting on the business and culture of the Internet.