1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.
2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
3. Fast is better than slow.
4. Democracy on the web works.
5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
6. You can make money without doing evil.
7. There’s always more information out there.
8. The need for information crosses all borders.
9. You can be serious without a suit.
10. Great just isn’t good enough.



Ten things we know to be true

“The perfect search engine,” says co-founder Larry Page, “would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want.” When Google began, you would have been pleasantly surprised to enter a search query and immediately find the right answer. Google became successful precisely because we were better and faster at finding the right answer than other search engines at the time.

But technology has come a long way since then, and the face of the web has changed. Recognizing that search is a problem that will never be solved, we continue to push the limits of existing technology to provide a fast, accurate and easy-to-use service that anyone seeking information can access, whether they’re at a desk in Boston or on a phone in Bangkok. We’ve also taken the lessons we’ve learned from search to tackle even more challenges.

As we keep looking towards the future, these core principles guide our actions.

1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.

Since the beginning, we’ve focused on providing the best user experience possible. Whether we’re designing a new Internet browser or a new tweak to the look of the homepage, we take great care to ensure that they will ultimately serve you, rather than our own internal goal or bottom line. Our homepage interface is clear and simple, and pages load instantly. Placement in search results is never sold to anyone, and advertising is not only clearly marked as such, it offers relevant content and is not distracting. And when we build new tools and applications, we believe they should work so well you don’t have to consider how they might have been designed differently.

2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.

We do search. With one of the world’s largest research groups focused exclusively on solving search problems, we know what we do well, and how we could do it better. Through continued iteration on difficult problems, we’ve been able to solve complex issues and provide continuous improvements to a service that already makes finding information a fast and seamless experience for millions of people. Our dedication to improving search helps us apply what we’ve learned to new products, like Gmail and Google Maps. Our hope is to bring the power of search to previously unexplored areas, and to help people access and use even more of the ever-expanding information in their lives.

3. Fast is better than slow.

We know your time is valuable, so when you’re seeking an answer on the web you want it right away – and we aim to please. We may be the only people in the world who can say our goal is to have people leave our homepage as quickly as possible. By shaving excess bits and bytes from our pages and increasing the efficiency of our serving environment, we’ve broken our own speed records many times over, so that the average response time on a search result is a fraction of a second. We keep speed in mind with each new product we release, whether it’s a mobile application or Google Chrome, a browser designed to be fast enough for the modern web. And we continue to work on making it all go even faster.

4. Democracy on the web works.

Google search works because it relies on the millions of individuals posting links on websites to help determine which other sites offer content of value. We assess the importance of every web page using more than 200 signals and a variety of techniques, including our patented PageRank? algorithm, which analyzes which sites have been “voted” to be the best sources of information by other pages across the web. As the web gets bigger, this approach actually improves, as each new site is another point of information and another vote to be counted. In the same vein, we are active in open source software development, where innovation takes place through the collective effort of many programmers.

5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.

The world is increasingly mobile: people want access to information wherever they are, whenever they need it. We’re pioneering new technologies and offering new solutions for mobile services that help people all over the globe to do any number of tasks on their phone, from checking email and calendar events to watching videos, not to mention the several different ways to access Google search on a phone. In addition, we’re hoping to fuel greater innovation for mobile users everywhere with Android, a free, open source mobile platform. Android brings the openness that shaped the Internet to the mobile world. Not only does Android benefit consumers, who have more choice and innovative new mobile experiences, but it opens up revenue opportunities for carriers, manufacturers and developers.

6. You can make money without doing evil.

Google is a business. The revenue we generate is derived from offering search technology to companies and from the sale of advertising displayed on our site and on other sites across the web. Hundreds of thousands of advertisers worldwide use AdWords to promote their products; hundreds of thousands of publishers take advantage of our AdSense program to deliver ads relevant to their site content. To ensure that we’re ultimately serving all our users (whether they are advertisers or not), we have a set of guiding principles for our advertising programs and practices:

* We don’t allow ads to be displayed on our results pages unless they are relevant where they are shown. And we firmly believe that ads can provide useful information if, and only if, they are relevant to what you wish to find – so it’s possible that certain searches won’t lead to any ads at all.
* We believe that advertising can be effective without being flashy. We don’t accept pop-up advertising, which interferes with your ability to see the content you’ve requested. We’ve found that text ads that are relevant to the person reading them draw much higher clickthrough rates than ads appearing randomly. Any advertiser, whether small or large, can take advantage of this highly targeted medium.
* Advertising on Google is always clearly identified as a “Sponsored Link,” so it does not compromise the integrity of our search results. We never manipulate rankings to put our partners higher in our search results and no one can buy better PageRank. Our users trust our objectivity and no short-term gain could ever justify breaching that trust.

7. There’s always more information out there.

Once we’d indexed more of the HTML pages on the Internet than any other search service, our engineers turned their attention to information that was not as readily accessible. Sometimes it was just a matter of integrating new databases into search, such as adding a phone number and address lookup and a business directory. Other efforts required a bit more creativity, like adding the ability to search news archives, patents, academic journals, billions of images and millions of books. And our researchers continue looking into ways to bring all the world’s information to people seeking answers.

8. The need for information crosses all borders.

Our company was founded in California, but our mission is to facilitate access to information for the entire world, and in every language. To that end, we have offices in dozens of countries, maintain more than 150 Internet domains, and serve more than half of our results to people living outside the United States. We offer Google’s search interface in more than 110 languages, offer people the ability to restrict results to content written in their own language, and aim to provide the rest of our applications and products in as many languages as possible. Using our translation tools, people can discover content written on the other side of the world in languages they don’t speak. With these tools and the help of volunteer translators, we have been able to greatly improve both the variety and quality of services we can offer in even the most far-flung corners of the globe.

9. You can be serious without a suit.

Our founders built Google around the idea that work should be challenging, and the challenge should be fun. We believe that great, creative things are more likely to happen with the right company culture – and that doesn’t just mean lava lamps and rubber balls. There is an emphasis on team achievements and pride in individual accomplishments that contribute to our overall success. We put great stock in our employees – energetic, passionate people from diverse backgrounds with creative approaches to work, play and life. Our atmosphere may be casual, but as new ideas emerge in a café line, at a team meeting or at the gym, they are traded, tested and put into practice with dizzying speed – and they may be the launch pad for a new project destined for worldwide use.

10. Great just isn’t good enough.

We see being great at something as a starting point, not an endpoint. We set ourselves goals we know we can’t reach yet, because we know that by stretching to meet them we can get further than we expected. Through innovation and iteration, we aim to take things that work well and improve upon them in unexpected ways. For example, when one of our engineers saw that search worked well for properly spelled words, he wondered about how it handled typos. That led him to create an intuitive and more helpful spell checker.

Even if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, finding an answer on the web is our problem, not yours. We try to anticipate needs not yet articulated by our global audience, and meet them with products and services that set new standards. When we launched Gmail, it had more storage space than any email service available. In retrospect offering that seems obvious – but that’s because now we have new standards for email storage. Those are the kinds of changes we seek to make, and we’re always looking for new places where we can make a difference. Ultimately, our constant dissatisfaction with the way things are becomes the driving force behind everything we do.


Google 联合创始人拉里·佩奇说,“完美的搜索引擎需要做到确解用户之意,切返用户之需”。 就搜索技术的现状而言,我们需要通过研究、开发和革新来实现长远的发展。 Google 致力于成为这一技术领域的开拓者。 尽管 Google 已是全球公认的业界领先的搜索技术公司,但 Google 的目标是为所有信息搜寻者提供更高标准的服务,无论用户是坐在波士顿的台式机旁,还是正在驾车穿过波恩,或是漫步在曼谷街头。

正是由于这一点,Google 一直在不断追求创新并突破现有的技术限制,为客户提供快速、准确和易用的搜索服务,而不受地点的限制。 要全面了解 Google 的最好方式,就是了解公司用来重新定义个人、企业和技术专家看待互联网的所有方式。

Google 的十大价值观
1. 以用户为中心,其他一切水到渠成。

创建伊始,Google 即以提供最佳的用户体验为中心任务。 虽然很多公司主张客户利益优先,但只有少数能抗拒各种诱惑,大多都会牺牲客户的少量利益来增加股东价值。 Google 的一贯态度是:如果所做的更改不会给网站访问者带来任何好处,则将坚定不移地予以拒绝:

Google 秉持着用户第一的理念,在网上赢得了最忠实的用户群体。 用户群体的增长并不是通过电视广告活动获得的,而是在用户的交口称颂下实现的。

2. 心无旁骛、精益求精。

Google 要做的就是搜索。 拥有世界上最大的研究队伍之一,心无旁骛地攻克搜索问题,我们知道自己擅长什么,也知道如何可以做得更好。 通过持之以恒地对难题进行反复的探索,我们始终能够解决复杂难题,并不断地改进已被公认为网络上为百万用户提供快捷、完美的信息搜索体验的最佳服务。 我们努力改善搜索服务,这也让我们可以将所学的知识应用于新产品,其中包括 Gmail、Google 桌面和 Google 地图。 在改善搜索服务的同时,我们也在不断推出新产品*,我们的愿望是将搜索的强大功能应用于以前未曾探索的领域,并帮助用户更多地访问及利用其生活中不断扩充 的信息。

3. 快比慢好。

Google 相信瞬间带来的喜悦。 您需要解答的时候,往往是希望马上就能得到。 这点是无庸置疑的吧? Google 的目标就是希望用户使用 Google 网站的时间越短越好,这样的公司世界上可能也独一无二。 Google 执著地消减网页多余的空间,不断地提高服务环境的效率,并一次次地打破自己创造的速度记录。 别人认为大型服务器是处理海量数据的最快方式, 但 Google 却发现 PC 机联网速度会更快。 在别人都认为搜索算法会明显限制速度时,Google 却写出了新的算法,证明了速度无限的真理。 Google 一直在不断地努力,让速度再快一点。

4. 网络的民主作风。

Google 之所以成功,原因在于它仰赖数百万向网站发布信息的用户来确定哪些网站提供的内容具有价值。 Google 不依赖一组编辑人员或仅仅根据某个词汇出现的频率来为每个网页评级,而是采用一项突破性技术,即 PageRank™。 PageRank 对一个网页所链接的所有网站进行评估,并为它们分配一个值(在一定程度上参照了与相应网站链接的网站)。 通过分析网络的整体结构,Google 能够确定哪些网站被最对其信息感兴趣的用户“票选”为最佳信息来源。 该技术也会随着网络规模不断增长而改善,因为每一个新网站将成为另一个信息点,同时也是另一张要记入的选票。

5. 获取信息的方式多种多样,不必非要坐在台式机前。

世界的流动性越来越快,人们很难再局限于一个固定的角落。 无论是通过 PDA,还是无线电话,甚至是在汽车里,人们都希望随时获得所需的信息。 Google 在这一领域开发了多种创新技术,其中包括 Google Number Search。通过这一技术,人们从具有上网功能的手机以及即时转换系统(将以 HTML 格式编写的网页转换为手机浏览器可以读取的格式)上查找数据时,可以大大减少键击次数。 借助于这一系统,人们能够从 Palm PDA、Japanese i-mode、J-Sky 和 EZWeb 等原先不能显示网页内容的设备上打开数十亿个网页,查看网页内容。 尽管搜索引擎在任何地方都可以帮助用户找到所需的信息,但 Google 仍然在不断地探索新技术并提供新的解决方案。

6. 不做坏事也能赚钱。

Google 是一个企业。 它通过以下两种方式来获取收入:向其他公司提供 搜索技术;向广告客户提供在 Google 和网络其他网站上投放 广告的 服务。 然而,您可能从未在 Google 上看到过广告。 这是因为,除非广告与所显示的搜索结果页内容相关,否则 Google 不允许广告显示在我们的搜索结果页上。 因此,只有某些搜索才会在搜索结果的上方或右侧显示赞助商链接。 Google 坚信,只有当广告与您要查找的内容相关时,才会为您提供有用的信息。

Google 同样也证明了广告不必过分渲染也能够切实有效。 Google 不接受弹出式广告,因为这会干扰用户查看所请求的内容。 我们发现,文字广告 (AdWords) 的内容如果与用户阅读的内容相关,那么所带来的点击率要比随机显示的广告高得多。 Google 的优化小组会与广告客户合作提高广告系列在有效期内的点击率。因为点击率越高,表明广告与用户感兴趣内容的相关性越高。 广告客户可以通过我们的自助式广告服务计划,在数分钟内在线投放广告,也可以在 Google 广告服务代表的帮助下发布广告。但无论是哪种广告投放方式,任何规模的广告客户都可以充分发挥这一针对性强的媒介的优势。

在 Google 上刊登的广告总是明确地标记为“赞助商链接”。 不破坏搜索结果的完整性是 Google 的核心价值观。 我们绝对不会操纵排名位置来将我们的合作伙伴放在搜索结果中排名考前的位置。 没人可以购买更高的 PageRank(网页评级)。 我们的用户信任 Google 的客观公正性,任何短期利益都不能够成为破坏这种信任的理由。

成千上万的广告客户使用我们的 Google AdWords 计划来推广他们的产品,我们相信 AdWords 是同类计划中规模最大的一个。 此外,数千名网站管理人员使用我们的 Google AdSense 计划投放与网站内容相关的广告,借此增加收入和改善用户的体验。

7. 信息永无止境。

当 Google 索引中包含的互联网上的 HTML 网页超过任何其他搜索服务之后,我们的工程师开始将精力转到那些不太容易获得的信息上。 有时只是合并新数据库的问题,如添加电话号码、地址查询以及企业目录。 有时却需要更多的创造性工作,如增添可搜索超过 10 亿张图片的功能,或增添查看原始格式为 PDF 文件的网页方式。 由于 PDF 格式的大量使用,我们需要扩展所搜索的文件类型的列表,以支持使用 Microsoft Word、Excel 和 PowerPoint 等多种格式创建的文档。 为了满足无线用户的需要,Google 开发了一种独一无二的技术,可将 HTML 格式的文件转换为移动设备可读取的格式。 该列表维护工作不会就此终止,因为 Google 的研究人员将持续不断地探索新的方式,将全球范围内的所有信息提供给寻找答案的用户。

8. 信息需求,没有国界。

尽管 Google 的总部位于加利福尼亚州,但我们的办事处遍布全球,我们的宗旨是帮助全世界的用户获得所需的信息。 为了实现这一目标,我们维护着十多个互联网域;在我们所提供的搜索结果中,超过一半是提供给美国境外的用户。 用户可以根据自己的喜好,从 Google 支持的 35 种语言中任选一种来展示搜索结果。 此外,我们还提供翻译功能,无论用户的母语是哪种语言,都可以搜索到所需的内容;不喜欢使用英语搜索的用户可以有100 多种语言用来自定义 Google 界面。 为了更快地补充新语种,Google 为志愿者提供机会帮助做一些翻译工作, 网站上提供了供翻译使用的 自动工具。 这一流程大大改善了我们为用户(甚至位于地球上最偏远角落的用户)提供的服务多样性和质量。

9. 没有西装革履也可以很正经。

Google 的创始人一再强调公司所重视的惟有搜索。 他们秉承着“工作赋予挑战,挑战带来快乐”的理念创建了 Google。 正是由于这一点,Google 的企业文化不同于其他的美国公司,但这并不是因为公司里无所不在的熔岩灯和大健身球,也不在于公司的主厨曾为著名乐队 Grateful Dead 掌勺。 就像 Google 的线上服务始终将用户放在首位一样,Googleplex 总部的日常生活也是将自己的员工放在首位。 我们重视团队成绩,并以对促成公司全面成功的个人成就为荣。 于是,新的创意和想法不断以令人目眩的速度在彼此之间交流并投入实际应用。 其他公司的会议可能会占用几个小时,而在这里通常只要在排队购买午餐时,聊上几句就能解决;编程代码的人员和编写检查程序的人员之间也几乎不存在屏障。 这种畅所欲言的环境提高了员工的工作效率,并促进了员工之间的友情,而这种氛围又因为数百万的人们对 Google 搜索结果的信赖而变得更加浓厚。 您只要为想要有所作为的员工提供适当的工具,他们定然不负您的期望。

10. 没有最好,只有更好。

所提供的服务始终超出人们的预期。 Google 不会把最好看作是终点,而是全新的起点。 通过创新和反复探索,Google 选择行之有效的技术,并以异乎寻常的方式不断进行改进。 搜索对于拼写正确的文字没有问题,对于拼写错误的文字会怎样呢? 我们的工程师透视用户的需求并相应地开发错别字改正程序,就像知道用户在想什么一样。 在 WAP 手机上进行搜索时的时间太长? 我们的无线技术部门开发了 Google Number Search,将每个字母击键三次减少为只击一次。 尽管我们的客户群体数以百万计,Google 仍然能够迅速找到发生冲突的位置,随即加以解决。 但是,Google 与众不同的一点,就是在全球用户还未明确意识到自己的需求之前便能抢先做出周密考虑,并开发出富于创新的工具和产品来满足他们的需要。 这种永不满足现状的态度就是我们能成为世界上最佳搜索引擎背后的终极驱动力量。


* 全文更新: 在四年前我们首次写下“十大价值观”时,我们曾经说过,“Google 不做星座预测,不做财经咨询,也不做聊天”。 随着时间的推移,我们拓展了可以提供的服务范围(例如,网络搜索并不是人们访问或使用信息的唯一方式),还有那些当时看来似乎不可能的产品现在却已成为我 们整个计划中至关重要的环节。 这并不是说我们改变了核心任务;只是我们越是朝这个目标前进,地平线上那些看似模糊的目标也变得越为清晰(当然,也会出现更模糊的目标。)









沟的故事:教练说前边左转,先刹车减速。我就减速,他说换2档,我就换挡(这次找到了档把),然后他说打一圈轮。我就蒙了 ,我说左打还是右打?他说左转,我说左打还是右打?这个时候发现车的两边有2棵树。车停着,不动。。。。。。再看下,前边是沟。。。。。。







教练:停车!快停车!千万别撞着它!!!! — (注意:会人的时候可不是这么说的)












大雨过后,教练说:“你自己练吧,我下去坐会儿,&……%@¥%……×&。” 可惜当时我没听清他说的后半句话@!@。等他下了车之后,我开始挂挡,打轮向前开,就听教练在后边喊“快停车!!!!!!”。我猛刹车,回头一看,咦,怪异,后备箱盖居然开着呢!!!原来教练说的後半句话是“我倒点水去,你等我倒完水再开。” 晕!










直角转弯:教练说:看前边的白线到你车玻璃的这个地方打轮~ 我说:白线? 教练说:对 我说:报告教练,没有白线哈 教练说:没有? 我说:没有 教练抬头看了下,说:就那呢,白的,磨掉了一半,土遮住一半的 我再仔细看了下,晕!!!!磨掉了一半,被土遮住一半!!!!







1. 练习要领


2. 考试技巧























路考的时候发生了比较好玩的事儿:我是最后一个考的,当时路上已经没有车了,我发挥也很好。靠边停车后,那个很帅气的警察叔叔问“以前摸过车么”,我说“没有”。警察叔叔又说“哦,不错,速度很好,角度也很好,开得真不错”, 我心中满是欢喜呀~下了车回味回味,越来越觉得不对劲。那句“以前摸过车么”真让我后怕,这可是警察叔叔啊,如果真的以前摸过车,这个时候回答个“摸过” 岂不成了“无证驾驶” — 这个处罚最重可是N年不许驾车的呀~嘿嘿嘿嘿~不管警察叔叔是不是真的是个套(这个警察叔叔长的很帅哦,所以相信他也是不经意问滴)~,反正碰到这样的话,无论如何还是回答“没有”的好,嘿嘿嘿嘿~




PopCap's Jason Kapalka

这个是Jason Kapalka接受GI采访的那个文章。因为GI要求注册用户才可以看,而它的注册流程实在是太汗。因此全文COPY到这里。原文地址是: 和。

Part One:

Although just 10 years old, Popcap Games is something of a grand old man in the current gaming scene. Tackling browser, mobile and social games years before the start-ups that now dominate the headlines, it has been quietly consistent, growing in stature thanks to a twin philosophy of new ideas and regularly iterating existing properties and concepts. Despite both commercial and critical success with Peggle and Plants vs Zombies, the 50 million-selling match-3 title Bejewelled is indeed the jewel in its crown – even transitioning well to Facebook and microtransactions with its Blitz reinvention. caught up with PopCap’s thoughtful yet outspoken Chief Creative Officer and co-founder Jason Kapalka to hear his feelings on the rush towards social games, the future of the Apple vs Google vs Microsoft mobile war, the problems with Facebook, and the trends he’s seen come and go doing PopCap’s long tenure on what was once known as “casual” gaming.

Q: So PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, in-browser, Google Chrome, Facebook: will Android be next?

Jason Kapalka: We’re working on it. I think it’s inevitable, it’s just right now it’s an awkward platform because they’re changing so much and they have all these different hardware layouts. The nice thing with iPhone is there’s one – well, now it’s two – there’s one resolution, one piece of hardware, it’s very straightforward. Android’s not as bad as the old days, when you had to make the game for like 300 handsets. But it’s still like three or four, or however many weird versions from various different manufacturers. It definitely makes it more work; Google really need to get a handle on it if they want to push it to more developers. I think it’ll happen, it’s just that it’s definitely a hurdle to get over right now.

It’s a hassle that iPhone developers don’t have, and the marketplace for Android is still a bit confusing because all the different carriers have their own versions of it. I think it’ll all get better, unless Google gets sued out of existence by Oracle. Right now it’s definitely not the ideal game platform – very promising but there’s still a bit of work to get there.

Q: How confident are you about which platforms you’re going to target the hardest, given how many seem to be cropping up now – mobile, social, desktop, tablet?

Jason Kapalka: It is unfortunate. From our point of view, we’re pretty agnostic about platform. The truth is we like Apple, we like Google, we like Microsoft. We’re just trying to reach players. And the best way to reach players is the platform that they favour. Unfortunately right now you’ve got three of four of these big players, who are all at each other’s throats and not at all co-operating as far as standards and so forth go. So we have the obvious issue of, y’know, Flash. It might be good for doing a game on Facebook, it might be even conceivable on Android – but it’s absolutely not feasible on iPhone.

There are other issues like that, between Microsoft, Google and Apple – they all hate each other. Well, they’re all competing. It’s very hard to build stuff that works on all those platforms. You almost want to sit back and see who wins. Or ideally that they at least agree on some sort of standards, so you can say “alright, what’s the standard, you tell me? Is it Flash, is it HTML5, is it somethin’ else?”

If people can agree on one of those things, from our point of view we can work with everybody. As it is, when they’re fighting each other we have to try and support all three of them which means we’ve got to spend three times as much effort to do that. That’s tricky in terms of costs and to make time to make stuff, so we’re looking forward to some kind of unification, whether that’s by a victor or by a truce. That’d be better for us and ultimately better I think for game players.

Q: I see you’ve got Plants Vs Zombies on Chrome Web Store as well, and there’s new streaming stuff coming through too. How far do you intend to pursue that as well as the mobile battle?

Jason Kapalka: We’re trying all these things. They’re all experimental right now and we don’t know which will work and which will end up falling by the wayside. Generally PopCap has tried to be fairly catholic and do a lot of different things without jumping on any one bandwagon. It’s very hard to predict the future. You can always find someone who has gotten lucky. But it’s the Vegas fallacy. You can always find one guy who’s gone to Vegas and made a fortune on slot machines, but that’s not necessarily the same guy you want to invest your money in.

The same problem is true in the high-tech field. A few years ago mobile happened to be the big thing, and so someone like Jamdat did very well and sold to EA for $700 million or whatever. Were they especially smart, or did they just happen to be the right company at the right time? And now you’ve got social companies doing the same thing. And not to say that they did anything wrong, but if you’re a game company you run the risk of trying to follow every trend and they’re not all going to work out.

There are plenty of trends that we’re quite happy we didn’t do anything with, like just a couple of years ago it was Flash MMOs, like Club Penguin. After Club Penguin sold to Disney, everyone and their dog were trying to make some sort of tween-orientated Flash MMO. One or two of them are still around, but most of them are the ones who were there before – Habbo Hotel and Club Penguin. Everything else just kind of [crashing aeroplane sound.]

Q: Could it be similar to what happened with World of Warcraft and traditional MMOs? All those giant projects designed to compete, but half of them have closed and the rest have gone free to play.

Jason Kapalka: Well, yeah. And we’ll see how it goes right now. I think the vibe I’m getting certainly is that people are really deciding that MMOs are a bad place to do business. There’s gonna be one or two last gasps – probably [Star Wars] The Old Republic will be, well… I know it’s a big, expensive project, and if that underperforms, that’ll probably be the last time someone decides to spend $100 million on a WoW-killer. I think they’ll try and come at it from a different direction.

The truth is that Farmville is probably more of a WoW-killer than the Old Republic. I doubt that it’s exactly the same crowd, but I have a feeling there’s starting to be a little bit of that, and probably more so as you go forwards in time – as WoW players get older, have less spare time. I’m 100 per cent sure that people who stop playing WoW are playing FarmVille. Just because they don’t have time for a three hour raid, they’ve got time to put down a few crops or so forth.

Q: That seems to be becoming the commodity: time. We’ve got all these demands for attention, how do you make a game that stands out amidst all that noise? Is Bejewelled Blitz, a game that only takes a minute, the future of games?

Jason Kapalka: People are arguing if that’s good or bad; it’s hard to say, but from my point of view, as you get older and you have a job and a family and stuff like this, this idea of your early 20s gaming where you can sit around in a basement with your buddies and kick back and… I think I played Super Mario 3 for three days straight, that sort of thing. That’s not going to happen again. I’m never going to have three days to play videogames straight. I don’t even have three hours. That’s why World of Warcraft is right out for me. I think increasingly a lot of people are in that position, and games have to evolve to meet that need. Whether it’s a game like FarmVille or Bejewelled Blitz, or a lot of mobile games that have the same idea of “I have it wherever I go, I can play short games on it.” The game adapting to your schedule, rather than you trying to conform to the game’s demands.

Those are the kinds of the kinds of games that are probably going to be the big scary ones as far as the current guys like Blizzard, Activision, and EA are concerned. They’re going to be fighting them on unequal terms, like asymmetric warfare. So FarmVille versus WoW doesn’t seem like a fair match, but they’re not fighting on the same ground, they’re fighting in very different ways. To date, a lot of the bigger companies haven’t shown that they really understand that, or are capable of adapting to it.

Q: But we are seeing a lot of acquisitions for insane amounts of money – it seems they’re paying attention, whether or not they’re approaching it in the right way.

Jason Kapalka: They tried, Electronic Arts did try their own versions of Facebook games that didn’t work out very well, and that’s why I think they acquired PlayFish as a way to buy their way in. Whether it works out, it’s hard to say. Part of it is trying to integrate a very different company into the bigger structure. Will it happen? If it does, that’ll be good. But it’s going to be tough.

Amongst other things, those companies tend to have earn-outs, which means that PlayFish will have to have a big earn-out probably, which means they can’t just do whatever they like, they have to give EA the freedom to make money and therefore make back their investment. Which is probably three years of letting them do whatever they need to get their earnings up. Which’ll be good for making money, but maybe not for integrating them into the EA mothership… And I think you’ll see that in a lot of that, where the integration into the bigger company may be quite difficult because the cultures are very difficult and the terms of the acquisition make it hard.

So that’ll be the question. Whether companies like EA or Disney can really digest these purchases and really incorporate them into their corporate culture in a way that changes their thinking going forwards. If they just buy them and sit them there in a silo, they might do alright, but they won’t change their overall culture. This I can speak of because I was at Pogo. Pogo got bought by EA, it continues to be a profitable business, but it’s really just sat in a little silo by itself. It’s never really been incorporated into the rest of EA in useful way, and the rest of EA has never really I think learned the lessons that Pogo might have had to teach them, in terms of how Pogo was a social game company in 1999.

They still are – they’re a bit dated, they’re still using what was considered social media in 1999, which was chatrooms. Which nowadays seems more like… when people say chatrooms, they think of it as a den of perverts, they don’t think of it as a family gaming destination. But in 1999 it was. They got them and they left them frozen in time, so they haven’t really evolved.

But they would run that risk with acquisitions now; if they do the wrong thing those companies are going to end up frozen in amber and they never really change because a lot of their motivation for evolving on a Darwinist basis is taken away. Maybe it’ll work; it’s definitely going to be very interesting for the next year or so, I suspect.

Part Two:
In the first part of our interview with PopCap Game’s Chief Creative Office Jason Kapalka, he shared his thoughts on Google vs Apple, whether big companies can adjust to the new wave of mobile and social games and why FarmVille is a Warcraft-killer.

In this second part, the loquacious co-founder discusses the dangers of hasty acquisitions, Popcap’s future in the changing marketplace and the importance of brands in the Facebook age.

Q: You seem oddly relaxed about all the drama going on in the social space – is this not a fight you feel you have to win, or even really take part in?

Jason Kapalka: I don’t think we’re quite safe exactly. There’s always something surprising that can come along. I wish certainly that we’d been a bit more in the social space a bit earlier. We’ve got a foothold there with Blitz, but we’re not Zynga, we’re hardly the leader in social games. I feel we least have a beginning, I don’t feel like we’re on the outside trying to figure out how to get in. I feel PopCap’s really diversified over the last ten years, we’ve never been necessarily the biggest company doing Xbox games or mobile games, but we’ve always been able to keep our hands in all these different areas, and sort of shift as necessary to whichever platforms are doing well. We’re not trying to win the lottery, we just want to stay abreast of the stuff that’s happening and bring our games where they can be played. So I’m not that panicked about it because we’re relatively well-placed for the future. A lot of the games are the kind of thing that we do. They’re small games that work well on things like the iPhone or the iPad or on web browsers. Compared to a company that makes $50 million first-person shooters, we make small kind of things.

Q: And people don’t have to agonise about buying them…

Jason Kapalka: Yeah, and our price-points are low. I certainly wouldn’t say that we’re cocky or arrogant about things going forward, because there’s a lot of stuff that could go wrong. In general though it feels like the industry is caught up in the kind of games that we’ve always been doing. It feels less like we’re in a position where we have to argue about why casual games and other games like we do are legitimate forms of entertainment. Anyone can look around now, they look on their iPhone, they look on Facebook or at the Nintendo Wii. It’s pretty obvious that casual has kind of won, casual is the new mainstream.

Q: Can that sustain, if the reaction from new and acquired studios is to continue to make lots of FarmVille and Bejewelled clones?

Jason Kapalka: There’s going to be a lot of that. The truth is that there’s that in every industry. I mean, MMOs, there’s no shortage of terrible World of WarCraft clones that didn’t really work out, and you’ll see the same thing I think here. A handful will survive, a bunch will fail. You’re definitely in the stage right now in social games where there’s a lot of bandwagon jumping, where everyone sees moneymoneymoney and suddenly all these new companies appear… It happened before in mobile, it happened before in casual – in the past it’s tended to signal the beginning of the end.

Not necessarily of the genre, but of the sort of golden era, where everything was a fresh blue ocean and all that stuff. It’s getting into the era where it’ll be a lot more hard-fought. It’ll be tough. People will make money there, but there’ll be a lot of competition and then margins will shrink and all that sort of stuff. That’s my thought on where we’re heading with social stuff. Facebook can’t go that much faster, they’re only going to tighten up their restrictions. Sooner or later they will raise their rates, do other things like that, margins will just get increasingly tough.

You’re already sort of seeing that, a lot of the viral growth of Facebook games is now shut down, they have to do it the old fashioned way, which is by buying ads or by having something that people are actually interested in playing and actually want to want to tell their friends about. From our point of view, we can live with that. That’s an okay solution for us. So I’m fairly optimistic about the future – there’s enough crazy stuff going on that you never know what’s going to happen. I know Google are doing some sort of social network…

Q: I was going to ask about that – how much room do you think there is for another one?

Jason Kapalka: I don’t know. I like Google and frankly I kind of hope they succeed. But their track record for social stuff like Buzz and Wave and Lively isn’t so great. In terms of social and games, the two things they’re trying to do right now, they don’t have a genetic background for it. That said, they didn’t have one for phones either, and Android seems to be working out pretty good. I certainly wouldn’t count them out. I would say that if you’re going to take on Facebook right now you’ve got a pretty uphill battle. But if anyone can do it, might it be Google? Yeah, I think so.

Microsoft are trying their own thing to… [pause] Yeah, Microsoft, yeah – surprisingly, they’ve been doing some pretty good stuff lately. Some of those things like Bing and Windows Phone 7… It’s fashionable to look at Microsoft as being a bit unhip, and not quite getting it. But if you look over the last few years, they innovated pretty dramatically in a couple of key gaming areas. Xbox Live is really the model for how to do effectively a social network. Xbox Live is basically a gaming social network, and no-one’s done that better. They haven’t figured out how to carry that through effectively onto PC, but that said, might they be able to make it work on phones? Possibly. It could go either way. I could see it working either really well or not. It’ll be very interesting.

Q: They could almost start being seen as the plucky underdog, versus the Goliath of Apple.

Jason Kapalka: In some ways they almost are. And frankly if Oracle and Google beat each other up, Microsoft might be the winner. That’ll give Windows Phone 7 a lot of breathing room that they probably need.

Q: How has PopCap’s stance on new ideas versus sticking to established brands changed in this era where people don’t have the time or patience they once did to try new things? Someone came up with a list of dozens of URLs you guys had registered the other day –, and that sort of thing…

Jason Kapalka: Yeah…. Most of that stuff’s just protective. There’s an issue that if you don’t get those URLs and trademarks some guy squats on them and eventually you have to pay him a bunch of money. As far as brands go, they have some value. There’s no question that in some markets, like iPhone for example, it is pretty important. The iPhone App Store is such a Darwinian environment where stuff comes out there and if you can’t immediately get onto the top 10 charts you can easily just vanish. There’s no real way to market there, there’s no real way to buy ads, so a brand is the only thing you have, the only predictable way to get yourself noticed on the App Store.

There’s unpredictable ways – there’s fluke hits like Angry Birds or Doodle Jumps that come out of nowhere, but again it’s the lottery win thing. Those two have done well, they’re good games, but there’s tens of thousands of other games out there. There’s a lot of luck involved.

If Plants vs Zombies had been released on the iPhone first, it might have disappeared without a trace, but because it had a recognisable brand, because it was released on PC and Mac first, that actually built up a lot of interest, so people bought it. And then you have that cycle where because it’s on the top 10 a lot more people buy it. It’s a bit unfair, the rich get richer syndrome, but there’s nothing you can do about that. Apple can probably do better, they’re trying to do stuff like Genius to help recommend things, and it might help give some things a bit of a long tail, but until something like that happens, you really have to do your best to get them into that top ten. So brand is important there.

I think it’s less important in lots of other emerging areas. It’s not particularly important on Facebook; people might believe that Bejewelled is doing well on Facebook because it’s Bejewelled, but there’s a lot of other branded games on Facebook that failed – from Tetris to FIFA and all these things like that. And they’ve all done poorly, or at best mediocre. The viral growth is much more important – it’s the same in casual and downloadable games. The brand would get someone to try it, but it had very little effect on whether they would purchase anything or not. So it was less important than a game that had a high conversion rate. The good thing about the casual downloadable space was it really forced them to make good games, because there’s no possible way to sucker someone.