Before there was Google Web Fonts, web designers had to work with a limited set of what is known as “safe web fonts”. Essentially, safe web fonts are fonts that are safe to use in a website. Safe because they are guaranteed to be found on majority of computers, irrespective of their operating system. Safe web fonts ensure that the websites render exactly as it was meant to be on the user’s browser. But web fonts are uncreative, repetitive and mostly boring.
Then a new way of utilizing a variety of fonts using CSS declaration was devised. A number of providers started offering web fonts to developers, some for free and some at paid subscriptions. But it was Google Web Fonts that popularized the concept. What started as an experimental “Google Font Directory” with a humble collection is now a leading provider of web fonts. Google has almost obliterated the competition. Now one of the larger providers, Fonts.com, have recently collaborated with Google to bring Google’s respectable collection of 1100+ fonts to the desktop.
They have released a desktop program for Windows and Mac, called SkyFonts, that allows you to download Google Web Fonts to your computer and keep installed fonts automatically updated. For example, when new characters are added to font, they become automatically available on your machine. With the fonts installed locally, browsing websites that use web fonts will be faster, since your browser won’t have to spend time fetching font data
To download fonts, first install SkyFonts. Then with SkyFonts running on your computer, go to www.fonts.com/web-fonts/google in your browser and click on “Browse Fonts” button. Browse through the selection and when you find a font that catches your fancy, click on the “SkyFonts” button next to it. This will download and install the font to your computer.
All downloaded fonts can be managed from the program’s interface. As long as the program is running in the background, it will keep your font directory in sync with Google Web Fonts. To remove a font from the collection, simply open the font down folder and delete them from your computer.