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Introducing Google Web Fonts

Google Web Fonts
Tired of using the same old, boring “web safe” fonts, like Times and Arial, on your website? If so, we’ve got good news for you! Google has introduced a service allowing the use of hundreds of previously non-web safe fonts on websites.

In the past, using non-web safe fonts meant that if your site visitors didn’t have that font on their computer, they might not get the desired experience. To help ensure all users experienced the same look, you would have had to use images instead of text, which is not ideal for search engine optimization purposes.

How Do You Incorporate Google Web Fonts Into Your Website?

Google web fonts don’t rely on fonts installed on users’ computers. Instead, these fonts are stored on Google’s servers and simply served to your website like an image residing on another server might be. To use these fonts, simply:
  1. Go to
  2. Select the font you want to use
  3. Add a link to the font’s CSS (cascading style sheet)
  4. Incorporate the new font family into the appropriate CSS selector class

Browser Compatibility

Google says these fonts work in all the latest web browsers and we confirmed the new fonts work in Internet Explorer 6 and 8, Firefox 3, Chrome and Safari on Windows. 

When to Use

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. When considering whether to use these fonts, we would recommend using some restraint and only using them when it adds to the visitor’s experience. Also, keep in mind that many of the fonts are not easily readable once they get smaller than 14px. If the text on your site is difficult to read, you are doing both the user and your site a disservice.

Additional Dependency

Since these fonts are stored on Google’s servers, using them means your website will be dependent on Google. Should this concern you? What happens if Google goes away, they discontinue the service, or the service is unavailable? While we believe all of these possibilities are unlikely, you can still protect against any unforeseen problems by listing additional fonts in your CSS. Doing this will ensure that if the Google Web Font isn’t available, the browser can substitute a web safe alternative.

What are your thoughts on incorporating Google Web Fonts into your website? Have you already started using them?