I'd like to give a quick review of the new Google Font Directory service. The free service, still in beta, allows for the facile incorporation of fonts that may not be found on all operating systems. This service allows web designers to broaden their font usage beyond Times New Roman, Courier, Arial, Helvetica, Verdana, and Tahoma.
The service is excellent! It took me only a couple minutes to browse the directory, select the font that I wanted to use, and incorporate it into my web site. The font you're looking at right now is the Droid Serif font, selected for its "comfortable reading on screen".
It's easy to understand why Google has decided to do this. When web designers have wanted to use fancy fonts, they've been required to use images instead of plain text, which Google's crawlers can't read. Making these fonts accessible puts more text on the web, and thus gives Google better search results. This way, web designer's jobs are easier, the reader has faster-loading and more stylized web pages, and Google gets better search results. Everybody wins.
I'd say the only downside is the limited number of fonts to choose from. I did notice, however, that the number of available fonts has increased since I first looked at the directory a couple days ago. The count now stands at 18. Hopefully font designers will see the usefulness in giving away one of their works, since Google cites the font designers very clearly and provides a link to their websites.
Links: Google Font Directory