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Google's introverted cofounder has mysteriously disappeared from public life and is reportedly spending more time on his private Caribbean island

Isobel Asher Hamilton
Larry Page

Andrew Kelly/Reuters

 

  • At a time when founders of major tech companies are increasingly stepping into the spotlight, Larry Page of Google has faded from public view.
  • He is taking less and less interest in Google's day-to-day and is spending more time secluded on his private Caribbean island, Bloomberg reports.
  • Page is still active in the tech world but devotes his time to futuristic projects, such as investing in flying-taxi firms.
  • Page declined to attend a recent Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on big tech where Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, testified.

Larry Page has faded from public life.

While other founders of major tech companies, such as Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Jack Dorsey of Twitter, have recently been compelled to step into the spotlight, Page is withdrawing more and more from public life to spend time on his private Caribbean island, Bloomberg reports.

Page founded Google with Sergey Brin in 1998. Both are senior executives at Google's parent company, Alphabet, where Page still holds company all-hands meetings, according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg notes that in the 1990s Page was found to have vocal-cord paralysis. He opened up about the condition in 2013. He said it made his voice softer and made long monologues more difficult. The 45-year-old Google cofounder has not spoken in public since a TED talk in 2014, despite Google's recently coming under attack from President Donald Trump, who has accused it of left-wing bias and antitrust violations.

Google's leadership was strikingly absent from a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing last week where Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, gave evidence. An empty chair was theatrically left for Google after Page and Google CEO Sundar Pichai declined to attend.

 

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia tore into Google's leadership for failing to turn up. "Given its size and influence, I would have thought the leadership at Google would want to demonstrate how seriously it takes these challenges and to lead this important public discussion," he said.

Bloomberg spoke with the early Google investor turned critic Roger McNamee about Page being a no-show. "Google has been incredibly lucky to date that Facebook's failures have been so much more in focus, but they're every bit as bad," he told Bloomberg. "By not showing up, it did Facebook a huge favor. If you're a shareholder, you should be furious. They guaranteed the intensity will go way up."

Being absent from public life doesn't mean Page has withdrawn from the world of tech entirely. According to Bloomberg, Page has stopped taking an interest in corporate dealings at Google in favor of futuristic projects that capture his interest. For example, Page has made major investments in flying-car companies like Kitty Hawk and BlackFly.

Page has always guarded his privacy, but a withdrawal from public life may draw the ire of some now that Google is coming under the microscope along with social-media companies.

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