Google unveils and pitches new open-source “WebP” photo format

Google has released developer tools for a new image format that Google believes could replace JPEG as the ideal photo format for the Internet. Called “WebP”, the new format – invented by Google themselves – would offer improved performance while maintaining image quality. Google claims that files compressed with the new format would be as much as 39 per cent smaller than those compressed in the current JPEG photo format.

According to Google product manager Richard Rabbat, the open-sourced format is an attempt to cut the size of “lossy” compressed images, reducing file sizes and data traffic loads for networks with slower connection speeds such as mobile broadband platforms. “Most of the common image formats on the web today were established over a decade ago and are based on technology from around that time,” Rabbat wrote in a blog posting. “Some engineers at Google decided to figure out if there was a way to further compress lossy images like JPEG to make them load faster, while still preserving quality and resolution.”

The company is currently offering developer tools to help developers add WebP support to their applications. The company also plans to introduce support for the format with the next version of its Chrome browser.

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