July 13, 2012

Google’s Page Comes Back

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

Google´s CEO Larry Page has been notably absent at the ℠plex in recent weeks, and even missed this year´s developer conference in San Francisco, Google I/O. Page has been recovering from an “unspecified ailment,” according to Reuters, though he was able to make it back to the office on Monday. Page´s ailment had caused him to lose his voice, missing this year´s annual shareholders meeting. Though only 39-years old, his continued absence has caused some to worry about his health. Google Co-Founder Page has been taking meetings at their Mountain View headquarters said Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt at the Allen & Co conference, though he would not go into any further details.

“He´s still recovering. Larry is doing much better. He was in the office on Monday,” Schmidt said. “Larry ran the meeting. He is talking, but talking softly.”

One of the companies largest shareholders, Page is expected to miss next week´s post-earnings call as well.

Though Page has been absent, his company has been marching ever onward without him. During their I/O conference, Google made big announcements, including a new version of their Android operating system, a new tablet–the Nexus 7– and a new “social streaming player,” in the Nexus Q.

The Nexus 7 is widely expected to compete with Amazon´s Kindle Fire as well as Apple´s market-leading iPad. According to Schmidt, the demand for the Nexus 7 “was immense in the first week.”

Bloggers and reviewers alike have been singing the praises of the Nexus 7, estimating that the $199 price point could prove disruptive for the rather lopsided tablet race. Complete with a camera and a higher-resolution screen, the Nexus 7 starts at the same price as the Amazon Kindle Fire, which does not boast these features.

Elsewhere in the Google universe, their iconic search engine raked in a cool $38 billion in revenue last year and launched their answer to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter: Google+. Now, the Mountain View company has been betting big on Google+, releasing a new iPad app for their Googley social service and making it ever prominent on all things G.

Most recently, Google has been making headlines as they´ve been asked to pay the largest recorded fine to the FTC for ignoring iPhone users´ requests to not be tracked and have their behavior sold to third-party advertisers. Apple´s iPhone allows users to turn off third-party cookies, which block these advertisers from following the movements online. Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal discovered Google had created a work around and continued to track these iPhone and iPad users. After the Journal report was released, the FTC began their investigations into Google´s shady practices.

The $22.5 million fine is still subject to approval, though it´s not likely the company will notice. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google makes nearly $22.5 million every 5 hours from their search engine. In addition to the fine, Google will also have to sign a 20-year decree wherein the promise to adhere to their privacy policies.