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Google's CEO Larry Page is back at work after being laid low for a few weeks by an undisclosed illness or bug that caused him to lose his voice.

The search giant's chairman Eric Schmidt told reporters on Thursday that Page had returned to Google at the start of this week.

"He's still recovering. Larry is doing much better," Schmidt said, before adding that Page had headed up a meeting at the company and was "talking, but talking softly". However, Schmidt declined to be drawn on what had caused Page to lose his voice.

The Google boss missed a busy few weeks at the internet giant. It had its annual I/O conference and got serious about the hardware biz with its multibillion-dollar acquisition of Motorola Mobility without the CEO being present.

But Google has also been under immense pressure from competition regulators, particularly in Europe. Brussels is seeking a quick end to its investigation of the ad giant's business practices - which some rivals claim stifles the search market. Schmidt has written a private letter to the EU's competition commissioner claiming that he has addressed the four areas of concern outlined by Joaquin Almunia in May this year.

Reuters reported that despite returning to the Mountain View helm, Page is still expected to miss Google's post-earnings conference call at the end of July, due to his recovery from the unspecified ailment. ®

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