A free service which allows website owners to use a wide variety of fonts.
But fonts are just fonts, right? Even though they might seem harmless, that is not entirely the case. These fonts are hosted remotely on external Google servers, and every time somebody visits a website with a Google font on it, the fonts are loaded in from these Google servers . When loading in the font, Google gets the user’s IP address, and they can then theoretically store this information. This, in combination with information about time spent on the site and the overall user profile, is still easily linkable to individuals in most cases.
By collecting IP addresses of users who visit websites with Google fonts on them, Google can effectively track individuals across all websites which use Google fonts. This information can then be stored and used for analytical purposes to make money through targeted advertisements as ensured by Google's terms and services.
Google fonts is also a way of strengthening their internet monopoly. Google search orders search results based on a large variety of criteria, but one of these is the speed of the website. To get your website to the top of Google's search results, it needs to load fast. Websites with Google fonts usually load faster than websites that host their own fonts on their own server. Even though that alternative is more privacy-friendly, it is slower, more labor intensive, and more expensive than just using Google fonts. This intricate web of symbiotic Google services makes it very hard for website operators to step out of the Google ecosystem.