This is big news—it means developers now have more control over Google Fonts web font loading behavior. We can enforce instant rendering of fallback text (when using font-display: swap) rather than relying on the browser default behavior of invisible text for up to 3 seconds while the web font request is in-flight.
It’s also a bit of trailblazing, too. To my knowledge, this is the first web font host that’s shipping support for this very important font-display feature. Yeah, the GitHub issue asking for this was filed in August of 2016 (just short of three years ago), but Google Fonts is still ahead of the game here.
Stable font file URL in Google Fonts so that we can embed the CSS in our sites directly. This would alleviate the two-hop penalty you’re paying to use these fonts (one render-blocking hop for the CSS and another to fetch the font files). Not only would this be fewer hops, but then you could use it with preload too, which would be incredible.
Font URLs are cached for a year and CSS URLs are cached for only a day—@googlefonts
This font-display change is great and means that things are improving! But self hosting will continue to be my preferred method for these typefaces until this issue is resolved.