08
Jan
play logo

If you fired up the web version of the Play Store today and everything felt a little off, don't panic. Google just decided to apply its Roboto font to all text on the site. Stock Android users will already be familiar with the typeface as the default setting for all written words on their Nexus devices. Outside of that family, though, it may be relatively unknown. Which is a shame, because it's beautiful.

2013-01-08_15h12_11

The new...

playstore

...and the old.

robotofont

That being said, in times past Roboto has not shown itself to be terribly versatile in scaling down to relatively low-ppi displays such as computer monitors and in this case it seems to work alright for headings, though to my eyes, some of the smaller text gets a little messy. For reference, I'm using a monitor with roughly 90ppi, which is ridiculously far below what we are used to on smartphones and tablets. Your mileage may vary, of course.

So what do you think? Pretty or disconcerting?

Does Roboto on the web look great or awful?

View Results

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Source: Play Store

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • Jason Brian Chapa

    I love the font, but it's very ugly on my monitor.

  • http://twitter.com/misterE33 Mr E

    Looks good! My only complaint is that the spacing between letters is a little small, so when there are multiple letters like 'i's and 'l's, it can look run together.

  • jaduncan

    Is pretty disconcerting not an option? Joking aside, I'm also not so sure that it works well on low res screens.

  • Sarah Puls

    I wouldn't have noticed if I didn't see this headline! But that's probably because I have a Galaxy Nexus...

  • http://www.facebook.com/RLHawk1 Raymond Hawkins

    I like it.

  • Hans J

    So they basically moved to Helvetica?

  • woj_tek

    ah! "'*{font-family: "Arial", sans-serif !important;}';" and we are back to normal... no, i don't have retina display or something else with high dpi so all those cleartype blurry fonts just look terrible...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      It probably hasn't hit you yet. It's definitely still there for me and most others.

      • woj_tek

        it hit me alright... i was just pointing out solution and quick UserCSS to get rid of this uglyness ;-)

  • Ivailo Stoyanov

    Looks really bad on my 21.5" 1080p monitor (~100 ppi).

    • evcon

      Same, but I think it might be a Chrome issue. It renders web fonts pretty horribly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000372600312 Joseph Pojunis

    I'm not interested until the N4 is available.

    • Mack

      Quit whining.

    • http://www.facebook.com/leo.davidson Leo Davidson

      I think this change greatly improves the user experience of reading the dark-red-on-dark-gray SOLD OUT text whenever I check to see if Google have managed to create some more plastic bumpers in the last goddamn two monthsfhljdhfjkhfmnthfhadhkjhlkjhdf. Sigh. :)

      • Mack

        Quit whining.

  • fixxmyhead

    looks the same as before. don't notice a difference

    nexus 4 user here

    • Mack

      This is the web based play store, not the app on your phone.

      • fixxmyhead

        yea i know

        • mgamerz

          Did anyone mention it's for the web play store yet?

          • http://cassidyjames.com Cassidy James

            It's for the web play store.

          • fixxmyhead

            yea

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Web Play Store.

      • fixxmyhead

        @ed443e8f6ec206e534e985a805e5bf24:disqus and @archon810:disqus i know its the web play store. i dont see a difference.

  • Marcell Lévai

    I don't like that smaller texts are so blurry :(

  • Alex Martin

    So... How was Fifty Shades of Grey?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      IT'S A RECOMMENDATION AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHY AND I CAN'T GET RID OF IT AND OH MY GOD PLEASE SEND HELP.

      • ChristianAhlin

        I would've gone with the "I bought it for my girlfriend", it's more believable... just saying...

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Not when it has a price next to it - it's clear he didn't buy it.

          • ChristianAhlin

            I hate to be that guy, and love AP, but it's part two that's on his recommendation and we are taking about part 1. And to be fair I actually tried to read the first book, but lost interest before anything happened.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            Wait wait wait, there is a PART TWO to this crap? Shoot me now.

          • ChristianAhlin

            OK, who's gonna tell Artem? I sure don't want to be the one...

          • mrsbelpit

            I think there's even a part three.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

            Actually, there are three parts. The original book began as a Twilight fan fiction, but as it began to gain a level of popularity, the author retooled it to use original characters and expanded on the-

            I MEAN, GOD DAMN IT, I KNOW NOTHING OF THE SERIES LEAVE ME ALONE.

          • http://twitter.com/jomaKern /var

            Soon you're be renaming the site to 'Android Pervert Police'

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

            I will volunteer to be Chief of Pervert Police and the internet will rue the day it ever allowed me to be in charge of anything.

          • http://twitter.com/jomaKern /var

            Don't knock it, in middle-class areas couch cleaners are putting their kids through college on the back of that book.

      • http://twitter.com/homncruse Aaron Burke

        It's okay Eric. We only think a little bit less of you.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

          *sniff* Thanks, man.

      • Julio M

        Have you tried the stop sign on the right side of the recommendation when you hover on it?

    • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh Tripathy

      What the hell are you guys chatting about?

  • Aaron Berlin

    Could you do a side-by-side what whatever they were using before?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Will add some.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kooljoe Kool Joe Kutta

    got the lg optimus g last week and discovered this great font... one of the best things about this phone is the ability to select a font for the device.. really makes it personalized. using hypurewhite right now

  • http://twitter.com/RkNRollaAyatola Derek F

    I can't tell the difference.

    • GraveUypo

      same.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dustin-Lehman/1321902066 Dustin Lehman

        If you don't have the font installed on the device you are using to view the page, it will use a default font instead, hence the code ""Roboto" Arial, sans-serif" it will default to Arial. I think this is mostly for those viewing it on there tablets or android devices if they don't want to access it via the App

        • PhilNelwyn

          There's a before/after photo comparison in the article...

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Looks muddy to me, at least in Chrome.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      Agreed, it's barely noticeable with a 15" macbook pro (non-retina), but it's definitely there. The issue comes from Roboto's particular TrueType hinting and how it plays with the font rendering on the browser. Most browsers don't use the operating system's font rendering, opting to do it in their own renderer. Chrome is notorious for bad TrueType rendering and anti-aliasing that requires weird tricks and fixes to make it look better.

      http://www.fontspring.com/blog/smoother-web-font-rendering-chrome
      On my screen, the demo linked to in this article looks even worse than the screenshot example provided.

      In Opera, Roboto looks even worse. In Safari, it depends on the font size, some sizes look far better than Chrome's rendering, other sizes look really jagged. I'd pull it up on my Windows laptop, but the ppi is too high to see most of the flaws.

    • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

      Agreed.

    • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh Tripathy

      Esp the text in bold.

    • Tee

      Muddy indeed. Much crappier now.

  • Drayon

    Worst decision ever!
    I've got a 1920*1200 24" screen, and this looks awful.

    • Cherokee4Life

      really? its looks nice on my 22" 1680x1050 and my 19" (wide) 1440x900.

      oh and in Chrome

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dustin-Lehman/1321902066 Dustin Lehman

      We might be too use to AA fonts, these newer fonts might look like crap with AA turned on. For me though it looks jagged, not exactly an eyesore but its not as easy to read as the previous font without increasing the size

  • Robert Alex Kibler

    It definitely looks bad on my 23" 1080p monitor. I would love to have a higher PPI monitor, but monitor tech isn't really improving at all.

    • NicholasMicallef

      Same here, it's like it was written using minecraft. It's so bad I doubt even 2560 x 1600 monitors have a high enough density, especially considering most of them are 27"+.

      • Hugo Pinto

        Looks great on my 27" 2560x1440 screen at home and on my dual 24" 1080p screens at work

      • hoosiercub88

        It's not about density or resolution, It's about how the OS or browser renders the font. sheesh people. It looks likes crud on my 1920x1080 27" if I zoom into 150% or so though, it looks crisp and clean.

  • Wael Omar

    The new font have a problem with Arabian letters, it shows (!) instead of spaces.. all apps and descriptions in Arabic are affected :(

  • http://www.theultralinx.com/ Will Kennerley

    Looks dreadful on 1680x1050 20"

  • Ervin Hasmujaj

    It looks smaller but I like it

  • Darshan Karia

    it feels like someone just turned off ClearType :-/... i am on 1920x1200 @ 15.4"

  • http://zmyaro.com/ Gamer_Z.

    Roboto is not the _best_ font for desktop web pages, but this definitely looks cleaner than what they were using before.

  • mgamerz

    Barely even noticable on my antique 17" monitors.

  • Scriptiz

    Font antialiasing disabled in Google Chrome (at least on Win7+) don't allow us to enjoy this improvement in our favorite browser.

    At least in IE10 it looks great :p

  • IncCo

    I wish i could withdraw my vote and change it to horrible.. looks absolutely AWFUL on my monitor.. =(

  • MrWicket

    30" 2560x1600 and it looks great. only place I see it look off is the bold titles, almost not enough kerning for readability when quickly glancing around. Otherwise I like the unification of the "brand".

  • https://twitter.com/#!/thedeusexmakina [J. B. cyruz]

    That is horrible! Gonna have to build me a Stylish script because I don't think I'll get used to that ugly a** font.

  • dad

    It looks like I have the wrong resolution as well.. I cant read as clear as before. The letters are closer together if you know what I want to say. I guess this is really made for higher density displays..

  • http://twitter.com/jhanford Jason Hanford-Smith

    Bold text is fugly

  • John

    It looks beautiful, and I have no idea what everyone's whining about.

  • D

    I don't know if its maybe an error but on my 2560x1440 27" looks like crap

    http://i.imgur.com/z6Nhb.png

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Wow, that's terribad.

    • Chemlo

      Lol, turn on cleartype.

  • http://twitter.com/jomaKern /var

    Using both Chrome stable & Canary v26 on a 15.6 inch 1366 x 768 screen it looks plain horrible, embarrassingly on IE 10 it looks alright;(

  • kamiller42

    Text looks great in Firefox. The app page banner image is messed up. Not sure if AdBlock or another add-on messing with it.

  • Josh Legoza

    Ah, that possibly explains why when I went to the Play Store this morning, none of the capital F's had their bottom horizontal line. I'm not a font geek, so that could have nothing to do with it, but I did notice that issue before I saw this article. Didn't notice that it was roboto though.

  • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh Tripathy

    Firefox has a great Font option to have one uniform font across all websites but Chrome doesn't have one. They need to fix TrueType rendering.

  • mauric

    Well, finally, after all those years, there is something that Internet explorer does better than Chrome.

    • Chris

      display a less then a year old font on a browser thats roughly ten years older then Chrome?

  • Chris

    Still need a way to delete devices. It still shows my original EVO and jetstream tablet, both I no logner have.

    • Sootie

      No idea how by I managed to delete my device. And I cant get the bloody thing back

      • Chris

        You might have hidden it from the device list, but its still there. Just need to click on the gear icon and my orders and settings and then click on settings tab

  • Cody Lusk

    Can't tell a difference. Looks clean and smooth in my Chrome.

  • Rob

    Maybe someday they'll get around to adding a link to the App Wishlist on the website. Unless I'm missing something I only seem to have access via my phone & tablet.

  • Jared Wiltshire

    Umm no one will be able to see the Play store with the Roboto font unless you have installed it.. Its not installed by default (on Windows, and I'm guessing not OSX/Ubuntu either). So yes its going to look the same for 99% of users. Not sure why Google did this.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      Completely wrong. HTML5 / CSS3 supports a thing called Web Fonts, which allows the browser to download a font just like an image. This is actually pretty common and it's supported by all modern browsers.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        This.

      • Jared Wiltshire

        Except the Google play website does not have a

        @font-face reference anywhere in its CSS.. ;)

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

          I'm not going to fish through all of the dynamically loaded javascript to find the line that loads it, but here's a few screenshots for demonstration. My system didn't have Roboto installed until about 5 minutes ago, I took a screenshot of a part of the page prior to installing it (shot 4). Then a screenshot after installing and restarting the system (shot 3), you'll see they are identical. Then I loaded the font app, typed in 'Beautiful Widgets', and compared Arial, the fallback font, and Roboto (shots 1 and 2). After removing Roboto again, it still matches.

          I also took a moment to force the page to Arial, just to confirm. I'm tempted to stick with it, the character spacing is better on my screen (I hate the 'i' touching the 'f', seen in the screen shots).

          Edit: reversed the screenshot numbers, for some reason they post in opposite order.

          • Jared Wiltshire

            Well I dunno but it definitely isn’t loading on my Ubuntu home PC with Firefox 17 or on my work Windows PC with the latest Firefox (18?)

  • http://profiles.google.com/danielm.nc Daniel Marcus

    The font looks great to me, but some of that might be Linux's font rendering system. I constantly have issues with "fat" fonts on my Mac at work, and Windows always needs ClearType tweaked. Note; I think I recognize Windows font hinting in your images, have you run through the font smoothing wizard?

  • Karthik Kumar

    Roboto is great for phones, but sadly doesn't work for me on the web. Everything just seems like it came out of a metal compactor.

  • numpty

    Don't see any difference on the Irish store… maybe US only for now?

  • Simon Belmont

    I'll be 100% honest. I didn't even notice the change until AP pointed it out to me.

    Now what has been seen cannot be unseen. But it looks pretty good, though bold and small text looks a bit, uh, weird.

  • Phil Cade Huie

    Ever since they changed it, I have been desperately trying to find a way to make the Google Play app store text readaable on my Samsun Galaxy S2 android phone. The new font is so thin and faint (pale gray) that I can't read it. I can't find a way to make it bolder, and I can 't find a way to enlarge the screen. I'm 60 years old and I also have low vision, and I think it's a crying shame that Google couldn't take into consideratin that some of their users might be senior citizens or have less than perfect eyesight. I've asked Google for help twice and have heard NOTHING back from them.l Any suggestions, anyone?

  • Aleem Qureshi

    If you are using chrome on windows, the new playstore looks absolutely horrid, fire it back up on firefox it looks beautiful. the chrome team really need to fix the anti-aliasing and font rendering in chrome

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