Google Creating WebP Image Format to Replace JPEG

Ryan Whitwam

Almost all the images you spot on the web are JPEGs, but Google is looking to change that . An offshoot of the search giant's WebM video technology is a new image format being called WebP. WebP and JPEG are both so-called "lossy" formats. Meaning they do not reproduce an image exactly, but rather compress the data an create a reasonable facsimile that can be used online.

Where WebP may actually attract attention, is in the efficiency of the compression. According to Google, WebP produces image files about 40% smaller than JPEG. This is a potential bandwidth and load time saver. On image heavy sites, this could be particularly useful on mobile devices where resources are limited. WebP would still have a big hill to climb though. JEPG is built into so many devices and programs already. "The challenges are tremendous," said Google's Richard Rabbat. "We foresee it's going to be a very long conversation."

Google will be adding native support for WebP to Chrome in the coming weeks. They will also be releasing conversion software so users can decide for themselves how good WebP is. Would you consider using this new format if your software supported it?

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