Google Inc co-founder Sergey Brin listens to a question during the unveiling of ''Google Instant'' during a news conference in San Francisco, California. Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith
Google co-founder Sergey Brin made a splashy entrance during a San Francisco conference while CEO Larry Page recovered from an ailment that has left him unable to speak.
Page's absence from one of Google's marquee events wasn't a surprise because the Internet search leader had announced at its annual shareholders' meeting last week that he wouldn't be attending.
Without providing any specifics about what caused the problem, Google Inc. said Page lost his voice. Although Page still is well enough to carry out his CEO duties, Page isn't expected to speak during a conference call planned next month to review the company's second-quarter earnings.
Brin told reporters Wednesday that Page is fine except for his inability to speak, which started a few weeks ago.
"He just needs to rest his voice," Brin said of his long-time partner.
Brin joked that Page might be an even more effective CEO because he is taking more time to choose his words. He declined to elaborate on what caused Page to lose his voice.
Even when he can speak, Page tends to shun the spotlight. He didn't appear at Google's annual "I/O" conference for computer programmers last year either. Google held last year's event less than two months after Page replaced his longtime mentor, Eric Schmidt, as CEO.
Brin, who started Google with Page in 1998, has never been a wallflower. He wowed a standing room-only crowd of about 6,000 people Wednesday when he jogged on stage to interrupt a presentation about a new feature on Google Plus, the company's alternative to Facebook's social network.
After apologizing for the disruption, Brin said he had a time-sensitive matter to share with the audience.
Moments later, he was immersed in a video chat with a skydiver that Google hired to jump out of a blimp above San Francisco to demonstrate the futuristic, Internet-connected glasses. The crowd was able to watch what it was like to parachute into downtown San Francisco through the skydiver, who was wearing a pair of the glasses, which Google has been developing for more than two years.
Most of the opening keynote at Google's three-day conference was conducted by lower-level executives.