Google has announced a new font that they have developed that will replace Droid Serif for all of its e-Books. Literata has been in the works since April 2014 and is “perfect for long reads on all devices”.
Google worked on the new font in conjunction with the TypeTogether design team. In a recent blog post they said “A new book typeface was needed that would provide an outstanding reading experience on a whole range of devices and high resolution screens running different rendering technologies. Additionally, the new Play Books type is meant to establish a recognizable visual identity for Google’s native eBook App and stylistically distinguish itself from other eReader competitors.”
The competitors that TypeTogether refers to is Amazon, who developed their own hybrid version of Caecilia, that was optimized for e-ink screens. It was first shown off in the first generation Kindle Paperwhite and has been the font of choice for subsequent models.
Why did Google even bother developing a new font? Well, when Droid Serif was first developed it was for low resolution smartphone screens. People these days are reading books on super large phones, like the Galaxy Note and 10.1 inch tablets. Obviously an outdated font is not going to cut it anymore and Google had to modernize in order to keep reading e-books on their own platform more viable.
Not much is known about the new font right now, but there are 1,100 characters per font, and it supports PanEuropean languages. I can find no license from Google that applies to this font, except the “All Rights Reserved” embedded in the font itself. So we must assume that Google does not want the font distributed outside the Play Books app at present.
If you want to check out the new font for yourself, it can be found in Google Books version 3.4.6.