Following the font-face revolution, a couple of services popped up offering a good selection of web fonts for a monthly fee, which they shared with the professional font foundries who supplied the typefaces. The biggest of these services is Adobe Typekit. Enter Google. Not to be outdone, the Internet giant decided to create a comparable service for free. Yes, free: all of the typefaces listed in the Google Fonts directory are open source, meaning that you can not only use them for any web page, commercial or non-commercial but, unlike with Typekit, you can also download them onto your computer and even tweak them yourself! Best of all, Google’s massive server power means that download speeds are lightning fast, ensuring that your web visitors have a good experience. So what’s in it for Google.
Obviously, they aren’t doing this just for the good of their hearts. improving google fonts Mockup of a component of the new Google Fonts site, via GoogleThere are a few convincing theories. One of them is that they want to special leads discourage web designers from using image files instead of font files because images cannot be indexed by Google’s search algorithms. Another is that, once a user downloads a web font once, they have it forever—so every site they visit with that font from then on will load at optimum speed. Google uses Google Fonts for its own platform, so it is in its interest to have visitors’ computers primed to use their products at lightning speed. In general, Google, being a web-based company, stands to benefit from a faster and more attractive Internet.
So why would people opt for expensive Typekit over free Google Fonts at this point? Six years into its existence, Google Fonts is able to boast plenty of quality typefaces. But because it is free and the type designers aren’t seeing any royalties, it is never going to be able to pull the kind of quantity and quality that Typekit does. Typekit has way more fonts, and all of them demonstrate the highest degree of craftsmanship. On Google, you may occasionally run into issues, like awkward kerning, bad rendering at very large or small typefaces, or just aesthetically questionable student work. On the whole, though, it is a very good option at an unbeatable price.