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Saturday, March 22, 2014
Google Improves WebP Image Format In New Chrome

Google's latest WebP software is coming into the Chrome browser to let browsers display its image format significantly faster, the company said Friday.

The WebP images are smaller and load significanty faster than other image formets, according to Google. A few months ago, Google added support for animated WebP images to Chrome, making WebP the first unified format that can address the key use cases of JPEG, PNG and GIF files. The recent release of libwebp 0.4.0, currently in Chrome?s Beta channel, is a culmination of numerous encoder and decoder optimizations that make encoding lossless images twice as fast, and decrease lossless decode time by 25%, according to Google.

Google Play's online store has also rereplaced png images with lossless WebP, reducing image file sizes by nearly 35%. And YouTube video thumbnails are starting to be served in WebP with initial results indicating up to a 10% reduction in page load time, Google claims.

"All the rollouts within Google combined have raised our aggregate data transfer savings tally to tens of terabytes every day," said Husain Bengali, Product Manager and WebP Optimizer. For users, this translates into faster page load times and fewer bytes counted against metered data plans. To speed up browsing on sites that don't serve WebP yet, Chrome for Android and iOS can use Chrome?s Data Compression Proxy, which transcodes images to WebP on the fly in order to deliver image compression of over 60%.

Google's arguments that WebP reduces file sizes compared to JPEG sound weak for Mozilla, which is concentrating on squeezing a little more life out of JPEG, with a recently announced JPEG encoder called 'mozjpeg'.

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