Talk about timing, just a day after our post about Google Web Fonts, Google quietly rolled out Google Web Fonts v2. We’d been wondering why it’d been so quiet on the Google Web Fonts front after their preview of version 2 at the Google IO session 2011. So it was good to see they answered our call – or so we’d like to think!
So what do we think of Google Web Fonts v2?
It was one thing knowing what to expect from v2 but actually using it really is quite a seamless experience and hats off to the research team for really getting this update pretty spot on. We’re definitely feeling the new interface, and it’s a vast improvement to the basic interface in v1 or should I say the Google Web Fonts beta version (as its still called).
I particularly like the paragraph view option and being able to compare fonts side by side in this way is really quite handy. Adding them to a collection and more importantly being able to see how this will affect the page loading time is something that developers will really be able to use.
Once you’ve got a few fonts in your collection, the test drive view is one option I wasn’t expecting and this one really is very cool – being able to see the fonts in a sample layout with headers, body copy, side bars is one thing but being able to change the kerning and leading with the options to change letter spacing, word-spacing, line-height really is a total bonus.
Not sure why Google are waiting a few weeks to replace the current interface, as it is V1 didn’t seem to update from its beta status a year since its launch anyway.
So What Could Be Fine-tuned in Web Fonts v2?
Well we noticed that in the filters there is no mono-space filter for the 3 mono-space fonts in the directory. The categories in filters seem a little mixed purpose – Serif and Sans serif and handwriting are filters that show the style of a font but the display filter is more about showing the anatomy of the font. As the fonts are for the web – they are going to be display fonts anyway – not for print – so still not sure why there is even any use for a display filter category. I would actually love to see more categories added for pixel and mono-space filters as well as categories for positive and negative displays.
Also noticed there is no Euro character – which would be a major hindrance to pretty much any kind of international e-commerce site. Would also help to add 3 more characters to complete the Turkish alphabet and then we’d be even happier with the international options!
Something interesting that we couldn’t help commenting on was the sample texts chosen by Google for the paragraph display previews – the classic sample text is usually ‘The quick brown fox….’ and Google Web fonts have used ‘Grumpy wizards made toxic brew…’ as a different panagram and then a text from Kafka’s Metamorphosis – is there an in-direct reference here? Or maybe this is just a subliminal message from Google about the metamorphosis in their use of typography?
What do you think? Share your thoughts in our comments section below, and tune in to our RSS Feed so we’ll keep you posted!