Monday, January 16, 2017

No Times New Roman in Google Docs

A self confessed Google fan boy, I own a Pixel Chromebook 2013. I planned to use it for all my office work,  to replace Microsoft Office products. I am amazed by the vision of Google to have everything tied to the cloud. It makes good sense to move your work to something independent of any OS or even a physical storage. It feels really cool that you you don't have to install any program but still get all your work done with your browser. 

It was quite a revelation to me when I read two write-ups (the other one) today of how Google fooled people in thinking that what they use as Times New Roman (in Google Docs) as Times New Roman. When you use Times New Roman to type something in Google Docs, it actually displays "Tinos" a font which Google says is metric compatible with Times New Roman and released under Apache license. To the untrained eye, it is hard to believe. So I set to test it with comparison with Times New Roman, as produced by Microsoft Word.  To me Tinos looks much closer to Liberation Serif which is mostly used in Libreoffice. I also compared Tinos with Liberation Serif. 

Times New Roman vs. Tinos

Times New Roman vs. Liberation Serif

Liberation Serif vs. Tinos

Comparing all three in Lorem ispum dolor sit amet

Google has remedied the situation somehow probably by a font licence agreement with Microsoft such that if you download a PDF, it comes out to be Times New Roman.  It makes sense because when you want to print from Google Docs, it automatically downloads the document as PDF. But what you see while typing with Google Docs is actually Tinos and Google doesn't tell you that. If you download the document in docx, and forward it to your supervisor or colleague, they wouldn't get Times New Roman as how this student had to get less grades because he could not use Times New Roman as per his school rules. Google is to be blamed than anyone else in this case. Another case of loosing grades here. Mighty Google are you willing to help students using Chromebooks?

In my opinion, Tinos which is a part of Croscore fonts  (Chrome OS core) is very much similar to Liberation Serif fonts (see comparison above). So people working with Liberatoin Serif under Libreoffice under Linux systems get similar looking fonts as Tinos in Google Docs.

I goes without saying that what you see you as "Arial" in Google Docs is nothing but "Arimo". I will do a comparison between Arial and Arimo in the next article. However, I am guessing the difference would be hard to detect because they are 'Sans serif' fonts. 

Here is a PDF version for printing of the fonts.