I just finished my WordPress plugin for Google Fonts and after a weekend of playing with Google’s new font service I thought I would share some thoughts on Google’s system as well as on the state of web fonts in general.
Since I have so much invested in Font Burner it may come as a surprise that I would embrace Google’s system, a direct competitor of Font Burner. Actually, I am thrilled that there is a new (and arguably better) solution to the dilemma of limited type options on the web. I believe that the font industry monopoly is at best selfish, and at worst damaging to the internet as a whole. Now that there is an open source option in which Google picks up the hosting tab, hopefully more and more font designers/foundries will loosen their grip on their typefaces.
When I created Font Burner two years ago I wanted to do anything I could to help expand the options for type on the web. While I am proud of the popularity of Font Burner, it has grown into a service that has stretched my resources significantly. The hosting move I made last week was a direct result of Font Burner and the hosting requirements it demands. Font Burner users generate over one million page views each month, and that bandwidth is steadily growing. With over 11,000 downloads of the Font Burner plugin for WordPress, the demand for alternative font options is obviously high. In attempt to meet this demand I also released an update to the Font Burner plugin that allows users to “self-host” their fonts. This should help keep my Font Burner servers fast (and affordable) along with reducing the risk of service outage for WordPress users. But enough about Font Burner…
The gorilla in the room is TypeKit. While some people have embraced this service, I haven’t. The reason is because this is a business venture. Unlike the free open source service of Google, Typekit uses commercial fonts with expensive monthly fees. While there are many commercial sites that may benefit from this service, it is not practical for the average website owner. Paying to use a font on your website (that you may even own already) is ridiculous. I can’t endorse a service that adds another middle man into an already overly complex and expensive system.
So, I really hope that Google Fonts takes off. I hope that the assortment of fonts grows steadily. Knowing Google, it will be the standard in no time.