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Posts tagged with: google beta

Google Font Directory & API

Google Font Directory -Font APIIn the Google I/O conference, Google has announced a collection of high quality open source web fonts that they have put inside Google Font Directory and made them available for use by everyone using Google Font API.

The Google Font API gives a webmaster the ability to use a simple, cross-browser supported font from the Google Font Directory on any web page. The fonts have all the advantages of normal text: in addition to being richer visually, text styled in web fonts are still searchable, and doesn’t get distorted like images when they are zoomed, and is accessible to users using screen readers.

“Google has been working with a number of talented font designers to produce a varied collection of high quality open source fonts for the Google Font Directory. With the Google Font API, using these fonts on your web page is almost as easy as using the standard set of so-called “web-safe” fonts that come installed on most computers.”

How to use Fonts from Google Font Directory?

All the fonts under the Google Font directory are hosted in the cloud. You don’t need to download or install anything on your side. In fact your visitor doesn’t need to have that font installed on his computer to view your site.

As a webmaster all you need to do is to add a simple line of code on your website to call the particular CSS file for the font. For example, if you want to use Droid Sans, add this code in the HEAD element:

link href=’http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Droid+Sans’ rel=’stylesheet’ type=’text/css’ >

Then you can use Droid Sans in any CSS rule inside your stylesheet:

h1 { font-family: ‘Droid Sans’, arial, sans-serif; }

And you are all set! Due to the operations being performed behind the scenes, these custom fonts will even be recognized back to Internet Explorer 6! Isn’t that amazing?

Nettuts+ has a great video showing exactly how to implement this. I have embedded the video below:

Example of Google Font:

google font

The only few possible downside of this whole thing:

  • Google font server may go down! However, like any style-sheet, if the first font doesn’t load I’m sure it will point to an alternative. So your users will always see the text on your page.
  • If you are using a very uncommon font, that the user is loading on his browser for the first time, he may experience a bit of slowness. But as he browses more and more pages, all these fonts are going to be cached locally on his browser/computer. Thus things will be really speedy on his future visits

So why do you think Google is doing this? Apart from the fact that this will make the whole web much ‘nicer’, do you think google has any other underlying interest for doing this whole thing? Share your speculations in the comments!

Google Launches “Encrypted Search”

google secured search Google has just launched a new feature that will make your search more secure than ever before! With Google’s new encrypted search page (currently in beta), searchers will have the ability to search on a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) page at all time ensuring that their search terms and google result pages are completely secure from network intercepts & hacking attempts.

Google has this feature already built inside Google Mail (Gmail) and Google docs but this is the first time they are introducing this in their main search platform. Anybody can try out the Google secure encrypted search by going to: https://google.com (yes, don’t forget the ‘s’ after http). Once you add the Https before the regular Google URL, both your search terms and search results will be encrypted as they travel across networks. This makes it much harder for third-parties to intercept them.

“When you search on https://www.google.com, an encrypted connection is created between your browser and Google. This secured channel helps protect your search terms and your search results pages from being intercepted by a third party on your network. The service includes a modified logo to help indicate that you’re searching using SSL and that you may encounter a somewhat different Google search experience, but as always, remember to check the start of the address bar for “https” and your browser lock indicators..”

Google’s Secure search feature is still in Beta. They pointed out that they aren’t changing the default to ‘secure’ because of the following reasons:

  • Confusion: People might think that other pages which aren’t SSL enabled are not secured. But this isn’t necessarily true.
  • Speed: There is a minor speed issue when they add an extra layer of security (encryption) over top of the existing data. However I played with it for a while and I didn’t notice any significant difference in speed.
  • Cross product security: Not all other google products which are linked from the search page (e.g. Google Images, Google Maps) are SSL enabled. Thus even if you use the SSL enabled page for your first search, you might eventually end up in a non-ssl page

Google highlights that using the secure page doesn’t necessarily mean that your ‘search queries’ and your information aren’t stored by Google. The Secure Google page only prevents unauthorized individuals to intercept your queries/data on a network level.

Personally I don’t really see a use for this for normal users. However government, big enterprises might actually find this quite useful. An individual’s search history can tell a lot about that person. And if that person is a key individual of a big corporation or government, the security of that data is really essential.

So test this out and let me know in the comments if you see any significant ‘speed difference’. Is it slower than the regular Google search?

Try it out right now, go to: https://google.com.