After a several month hiatus, Google's CEO Larry Page made his first public appearance today at his company's annual Zeitgeist conference in Arizona, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Page spoke to an audience of hundreds of people about the company's recent affairs, such as its battle with Apple over maps, its dealings with antitrust regulators, and Google's specialized services.
Last June, the 39-year-old Page was noticeably absent from Google's annual shareholders' meeting, he also didn't attend Google I/O or the second-quarter earnings call in July. At the time, Chairman Eric Schmidt said that Page was recovering from an unspecified illness that sidelined him for several weeks and caused him to lose his voice, but that he was able to return to the office.
Page did not offer any more information on his health at today's meeting. According to the Wall Street Journal, he spoke in a raspy voice and said he was "still a little hoarse, but I'm here and I'm happy about that."
In addition to the antitrust probe, Page also spoke about the Apple Maps versus Google Maps debacle. When Apple opted to boot Google Maps from its recent iOS 6 release, many users got up in arms. Complaints about Apple Maps included inaccurate data, lack of details, distorted images, and erroneous directions. Apple could have kept Google's more reliable and mature mobile mapping app, but it made a strategic decision to create its own mapping system.
In the aftermath of Apple's Maps flop, Google amped up its mobile Web app but hasn't said whether it will develop a specific Google Maps app for Apple's iPhone and iPad. Page offered no further information on a possible specific app either but did say, "We'd obviously love to serve users on different platforms with maps."
According to the Wall Street Journal, he also joked and said he was "excited that other people are starting to notice we've worked hard on [maps] for seven years."