Roboto tends to be Google’s font of choice across many of its services and software, but some of the company’s websites—like YouTube—use the more common and standard Arial by default. That doesn’t mean Google hasn’t thought about using Roboto, though, as Google Operating System has noticed. As you can see in the screenshot above, Google’s in-house designed font looks pretty snazzy on the ubiquitous video sharing website.
Update: It looks like Google has killed this little hidden experiment for now. It worked fine this morning, but it doesn’t look like users have the ability to play with YouTube’s font anymore (at least via this method).
To check the font out for yourself, you’re going to need to run a command in your browser’s console. First, you need to make sure your browser is pointed to YouTube.com. If you’re using Chrome, press ctrl+shift+J on your keyboard (or command+option+J if you’re on a Mac).
If you aren’t using Chrome, check out the below list for keyboard shortcuts for other browsers (hat tip to GOS for putting this together):
– Firefox – press Ctrl+Shift+K for Windows/Linux or Command-Option-K for Mac – Internet Explorer 8+ – press F12 and select the “Console” tab – Safari 6+ – if you haven’t enabled the Develop menu, open Preferences from the Safari menu, go to the Advanced tab and check “Show Develop menu in menu bar”. Close Preferences and then press Command-Option-C to show the console. – Opera 12 – press Ctrl+Shift+I for Windows/Linux or Command-Option-I for Mac, then click “Console”.
After you’ve got your command line open, it’s pretty simple to enable Roboto. Simply paste the below line of code, and press enter:
document.cookie=”VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE=vuYbQD3x-HQ; path=/; domain=.youtube.com”;window.location.reload();
You should see the page automatically change fonts. If you’d like to change back to Arial, you’re going to need to paste the following line of code and press enter again:
document.cookie=”VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE=; path=/; domain=.youtube.com”;window.location.reload();
There’s not really any way of knowing if Google is eventually going to go with Roboto for the website’s default font, but Google does sure seem interested in introducing the font across most of its own software. Last month, it appeared in a Chromium issue tracker that Google planned to make Roboto a default font for Chrome OS, and now you can try it out.