Why Google Just Wants Your Data

Poster: STANCOBRIDGE | Date: 1:24pm, 17th Oct 2017. | Views: 78 | 1 Replies
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STANCOBRIDGE. Jalingo, Taraba
1:24pm, 17th Oct 2017.

On a typography forum I frequent, there seems to be the common sentiment that Google Fonts was created with nefarious purposes in mind. And given Google’s somewhat sketchy history of adhering to their “don’t be evil” policy, it’s hard to blame them. Google is a company built around collecting data. Their goal is to organize all of the world’s information. And that includes information from you. Having millions of websites using their fonts gives them access to untold amounts of data.

Don't be evil
Was Google Fonts created with nefarious purposes in mind? Probably not.

That being said, I find this reason to be pretty unlikely. Google has a clear privacy policy outlining what data they actually collect when they serve fonts. It doesn’t appear that they use this data to target ads to visitors or anything along those lines. And I can’t imagine that knowing how many websites use Open Sans has any direct financial benefits. That data certainly couldn’t justify maintaining an incredibly large server infrastructure that powers trillions of page views.

If that kind of data was that valuable to Google, then I have a hard time understanding why Google Reader was shut down. Surely data about what blogs people read is more valuable than data about which open-source fonts websites use.

But again, this is Google so who knows. If collecting data is a driving factor, then I wouldn’t even be able to begin to fathom why.

Update: Aral Balkan pointed me to an interesting article about the privacy concerns with Google Fonts being automatically embedded on the backend of the latest versions of WordPress.

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