‘Google Web fonts‘ is a free online service, owned by Google, that lets you view and download hundreds of (and growing) open-source fonts, without having to pay any royalty fees, because they are all completely free.
Once downloaded, not only you can use them on desktop based applications such as in a text editor or a word processor, if you have a website, then through the Google Web fonts ‘API’, you can use these fonts directly on your website for rendering the content too.
I actually use this service on HecticGeek.com, and if you have somewhat a slow internet connection, then you might have the ‘privilege’ ( 😉 ) of seeing loading this service on the status-bar of your web browser as well.
Anyway, as a Windows user, if you don’t like to open your web browser and heading over to ‘Google web fonts’, every time you want to add or find a new font, then you can easily find a lot of desktop based utilities that let you do all that, directly from the desktop.
In Ubuntu however, I don’t think there are any such tools, except for Adrew’s hack over at Webupd8. That all is now changed as few hours ago, another ‘Andrew’ called ‘Andrew Starr-Bochicchio’ has made a pretty awesome tool called ‘TypeCatcher’ that lets you: search, view and install Google Web Fonts directly form your Ubuntu desktop!.
I love its user interface, as it looks simple and intuitive. To the left, it displays the fonts found in Google Web fonts and as soon as you select one, it displays a preview to the right side (supports changing font sizes and changing the sample text used while previewing).
When you manually search for fonts, this tools also gives you suggestions, which makes the searching a breeze.
Once you have found something that interests you, hit the small ‘Download’ icon on its upper toolbar, and it will be installed automatically. Then you can use this newly installed fonts in any application in Ubuntu, that supports changing fonts (including changing the desktop fonts, you’ll need to have ‘Gnome-Tweak-Tool’ installed for that).
You can also manually ‘Save’ the select fonts to a preferred directory by using its menu too.
It also lets you uninstall fonts. For that, simply select the installed font (it shows a Greenish check-mark on installed fonts), and click on the ‘Uninstall’ icon on the upper toolbar.
How to install it?
Sadly though, right now, it is only available for Ubuntu 12.10 (‘Quantal Quetzal’) users. So if you use that, then open your Terminal window and enter the below commands to install ‘TypeCatcher’.
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:andrewsomething/typecatcher
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install typecatcher
Once installed, search for it in ‘Dash’ for opening.
It is really new tool, but so far I have not come across any bugs. Worked right out of the box, and I would like to say thank you to ‘Bochicchio’ because it is such a useful tool, what a lifesaver! :).
If he can make it available for other Ubuntu users (12.04 and 11.10 at least), then I’m sure most users will love that.