Do Google's fonts function just like any other font? I've only gotten a few but they look a little poor in quality when used in print applications. Has anyone used them for a print design and did it come out accurately? I know they are optimized for the web - is there a way to identify which ones will look alright on print?
They are fine for print, as far as freeware fonts go. They aren't designed or programmed for demanding typographic features but they'll get the job done. In fact there are some very well designed examples, within the limited typographic support provided.
I have noticed (mostly comping for web) that they have some strange display quirks in desktop apps. In my limited experience printing with them, it's display issues only.
You have to test, some web fonts have different kerning and tracking settings that their print counterparts. While most of the times the differences are not that big, you could get a huge print fail if a font is web-optimised.
From what i know, Web fonts basically are the same fonts you use on desktop (like TTF,OTF) with some optimization that basically does not screwes up the vector paths, like a reduced glyph set etc..
You can learn more if you try to build your own on http://www.fontsquirrel.com/fontface/generator, and check the optimization options.
Anyway i printed a lot from sites out of the chrome browser and they look fine, at least on an a4 paper size.