Malseed, Mark 1975-

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Malseed, Mark 1975-

PERSONAL:

Born 1975; married; wife's name Jenny. Education: Graduated from Lehigh University; also studied in Copenhagen and Paris.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Alexandria, VA. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer and consultant. Researcher for reporter Bob Woodward, 2002-04; former technology and design consultant to a personal-finance Web site. Guest commentator, BBC, ABC News, and CBS Radio. Lehigh University Young Alumni Council, founding member.

WRITINGS:

(With David A. Vise) The Google Story, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS:

Mark Malseed is a professional writer and researcher who has worked for such luminaries as Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward and David Vise, his coauthor on The Google Story. As Woodward's researcher, Malseed contributed to Woodward's books Plan of Attack and Bush at War. He also worked for a couple of years as a technology consultant to a financial Web site.

The Google Story tells the tale of Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the search agent they created while Ph.D. students at Stanford University, and the giant corporation they built, which has since come to dominate the world of the Internet. The two innovators, wrote New York Times Book Review contributor Janet Maslin, "had much in common, including an early exposure to computers and parents who emphasized intellectual achievement. Mr. Page once built a working inkjet printer out of Legos." Google was a huge innovation in thinking about electronic data communication. In effect, it served as an index to all the information available on the Internet. Access providers before the arrival of Google had concentrated on setting up their own self-contained communities, with services tailored to paying subscribers. Google broke through the self-imposed walls that separated these communities from the rest of the Internet, making all its information accessible to anyone who used the service.

Furthermore, Brin and Page decided to make the service free at a time when the business model for Internet services required users to pay a fee to join the community. "These nerd-mavericks viewed fairness as both an ethical and a mathematical goal," Maslin continued. "And the Google-search idea emerged from their experiments in visitor-controlled site rankings. Google, with its famous ‘Don't Be Evil’ motto, declined to accept payment in exchange for a listing's prominence; instead, it let visitors select the most worthwhile information." To keep advertisers from influencing searchers' choices, Google refuses to accept advertising on its home page. The result was a business powerhouse that broke through all previous service-provider models. The book, according to Booklist contributor David Siegfried, "reveals a company with a conscience, one that refuses to … accept ads from gun and cigarette manufacturers."

In addition, Page and Brin created an atmosphere at Google that fostered creativity. "Every employee gets to work one day a week on blue sky projects, things outside the box, the stuff we see in Google Labs," wrote John Dupuis in Confessions of a Science Librarian. "Ultimately, people with ideas have to find others to work on them and to make a case for using more resources than just the 20% time to get the product out the door. But still, the culture of innovation this kind of idea fosters is amazing."

Reviewers noted, however, that The Google Story omits or skims over some of the less savory details of Google's rise to its position as Internet powerhouse. Malseed and Vise "seem a little too intent on constantly reminding readers of Google's ‘Don't be evil’ creed," remarked Keith O'Brien in PR Week. A Contemporary Review contributor declared that the book "does not dwell on the difficulties met with in Communist China (to whose censorship the company has yielded)." Nonetheless, the critics recognized that The Google Story is an important contribution to the history of a world-changing corporation.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 15, 2005, David Siegfried, review of The Google Story, p. 6.

Contemporary Review, September 22, 2006, review of The Google Story, p. 395.

Nature, March 16, 2006, "The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture," review of The Google Story, p. 279.

New York Times Book Review, November 21, 2005, Janet Maslin, "Sorting the World by Design," review of The Google Story.

PR Week, December 19, 2005, Keith O'Brien, "Book Review: ‘Google Story’ Is a Worthwhile Search," p. 24.

ONLINE

Confessions of a Science Librarian,http://jdupuis.blogspot.com/ (August 16, 2008), John Dupuis, review of The Google Story.

Google Story Web page,http://www.thegooglestory.com/ (August 16, 2008), author profile.

Truthdig,http://www.truthdig.com/ (August 16, 2008), author profile.