Page makes CEO debut at Google stockholder meeting

AP News
Posted: Jun 02, 2011 8:22 PM

It was hard to tell at Google Inc.'s annual meeting Thursday that the Internet search leader had a new CEO in co-founder Larry Page, who took the job from Eric Schmidt two months ago.

Both men gave short speeches and took questions from shareholders at the event at Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters. That was a departure for Page, who has been an aloof figure through most of Google's 13-year history and has said little publicly since becoming CEO April 4.

Little else seemed to change from Google's previous six stockholder meetings, with Schmidt doing much of the talking as usual. After spending the past decade as Google's CEO, Schmidt is now the company's executive chairman.

Most of the key issues facing the company were only addressed briefly, and there were few new insights.

One hot topic remains Google's prickly relationship with China.

Last year Google stopped censoring search results in China and moved its search engine from the mainland to Hong Kong, which isn't subject to Beijing's censorship rules. That move was prompted by a China-based hacking attack against Google.

This week Google disclosed another hacking attack, also apparently coming from China, that targeted senior U.S. government officials' personal Gmail accounts. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the allegations "very serious" and said the FBI is investigating. She added that no official government email accounts were compromised.

Addressing the latest attack, Page would only say that Google discovered the attack with the help of security features in "the cloud," which is technical jargon for services delivered over the Internet.

Such services are a concern for security professionals, because users don't have as much control over security as in a corporate email network, for example. One security professional, an independent blogger named Mila Parkour, who studied the latest Gmail attacks, told The Associated Press that they were occurring for at least a year before they were discovered.

The annual meeting ran slightly longer than the 70 minutes Google had allotted for the stockholder meetings of the past two years, mainly because more people wanted to ask questions.

The company said that based on preliminary results, all of its nominated directors were approved.