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Google Makes WebP in Effort to Make JPEG Extinct

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 60 comments

Google claims that it has made a better JPEG.

The JPEG image format is a staple of the web. Even before the world wide web became popular, the JPEG format, along with GIF, was the way images were encoded for digital transmission.

Google is set to replace JPEG with something newer and better. While the JPEG has been an immensely valuable technology, it's one that was based off of decades-old tech.

Google's proposed solution is WebP, which is based off of the VP8 codec that the company open sourced earlier this year. Through the use of the modern video codec, Google adapted some of those technologies to the still image format and believe that it has made WebP more efficient with smaller file sizes.

A test, as detailed in the Chromium blog:

While the benefits of a VP8 based image format were clear in theory, we needed to test them in the real world. In order to gauge the effectiveness of our efforts, we randomly picked about 1,000,000 images from the web (mostly JPEGs and some PNGs and GIFs) and re-encoded them to WebP without perceptibly compromising visual quality. This resulted in an average 39% reduction in file size. We expect that developers will achieve in practice even better file size reduction with WebP when starting from an uncompressed image.

With images making up about 65 percent of internet traffic, Google believes that creating a new lossy format to replace JPEG could both lighten the bandwidth load and speed things up considerably.

Check out some of the sample comparison images here. There are notable differences.

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  • 27 Hide
    K2N hater , October 3, 2010 6:23 PM
    Get rid of the adverts and bloated flash crap and pages will load 1000% faster.
  • 24 Hide
    killerclick , October 3, 2010 5:40 PM
    Awesome, looking forward to 2025 when this will actually become a standard
  • 20 Hide
    Ragnar-Kon , October 3, 2010 5:59 PM
    jamesedgeuk2000wasn't *.PNG the new web image format that was supposed to kill off JPEG? like 8 years ago lol

    PNG was designed to replace GIF images, not JPEG. And for the most part I think it has succeeded, although it is hard to tell.

    Well I'm all for a new/better standard. But Google has quite the fight ahead of them if they even want to become standard.
    But then again, I'd never thought HTML5 would replace Flash when they first announced it, but now its looking like HTML5 has enough momentum to prove my former self wrong in the next 5 years or so.
Other Comments
  • 24 Hide
    killerclick , October 3, 2010 5:40 PM
    Awesome, looking forward to 2025 when this will actually become a standard
  • -4 Hide
    jamesedgeuk2000 , October 3, 2010 5:41 PM
    wasn't *.PNG the new web image format that was supposed to kill off JPEG? like 8 years ago lol
  • 20 Hide
    Ragnar-Kon , October 3, 2010 5:59 PM
    jamesedgeuk2000wasn't *.PNG the new web image format that was supposed to kill off JPEG? like 8 years ago lol

    PNG was designed to replace GIF images, not JPEG. And for the most part I think it has succeeded, although it is hard to tell.

    Well I'm all for a new/better standard. But Google has quite the fight ahead of them if they even want to become standard.
    But then again, I'd never thought HTML5 would replace Flash when they first announced it, but now its looking like HTML5 has enough momentum to prove my former self wrong in the next 5 years or so.
  • 20 Hide
    ispam , October 3, 2010 6:01 PM
    jamesedgeuk2000wasn't *.PNG the new web image format that was supposed to kill off JPEG? like 8 years ago lol

    Since you obviously have no idea what are you talking about, here are some facts:
    - PNG was created to replace GIF.
    - PNG is not 8 years old, first release was in 1996.
    - PNG is a LOSSLESS format.
  • 1 Hide
    burnley14 , October 3, 2010 6:07 PM
    I had a hard time telling the difference in the comparison shots, and ~30% less bandwith is pretty huge. Go Google and their constant innovation!
  • 27 Hide
    K2N hater , October 3, 2010 6:23 PM
    Get rid of the adverts and bloated flash crap and pages will load 1000% faster.
  • -7 Hide
    IzzyCraft , October 3, 2010 6:29 PM
    Good luck getting the billion or so products that would need updates to support this format.
    killerclickAwesome, looking forward to 2025 when this will actually become a standard

    Haha if we are lucky full support across the board will arrive by then. Then maybe by 2030 websites will feel good enough to start using that format.
  • -8 Hide
    Vilepickle , October 3, 2010 6:35 PM
    I think it'll be after 2025 when this standard takes effect...
  • -7 Hide
    gmarsack , October 3, 2010 6:37 PM
    killerclickAwesome, looking forward to 2025 when this will actually become a standard

    Yeah, seriously. lol By then, no one will care since everyone will have internet connections that are 10 times as fast. Not only do developers have to support the new standard, so also would web browsers. It would take 15 years alone for everyone (stupid IE6 users!) to finally download and install a browser that could decode the image. :) 
  • 7 Hide
    mauller07 , October 3, 2010 6:37 PM
    The problem here is that they applied a lossy codec to an image that was already converted into a lossy codec not including the png images.
  • 5 Hide
    Nesto1000 , October 3, 2010 6:39 PM
    [quote="K2N hater"]Get rid of the adverts and bloated flash crap and pages will load 1000% faster.[/quote]
    It's called Adblock plus... use it...

    As for googles images, I'm all down for it. another image type won't hurt...
  • 5 Hide
    eklipz330 , October 3, 2010 6:44 PM
    i don't think this will revolutionize the way we surf the web, but all improvements are welcome
  • 4 Hide
    Graham_71 , October 3, 2010 7:04 PM
    Im all for improvement but can we trust google, every WebP image may be spying on us
    http://www.engadget.com/2010/09/30/study-select-android-apps-sharing-data-without-user-notificatio/
    as for the comparison samples, how can anyone tell the difference at a postage stamp size + current browses are not able to view WebP images so they must all be jpg's, its like seeing how a 3D tv looks through a normal tv !!!
  • 2 Hide
    ohseus , October 3, 2010 7:06 PM
    Given that it's google there is likely some clause in license that gives them control over the image contents to better sell search results.
  • 1 Hide
    hunter315 , October 3, 2010 7:26 PM
    I hope it supports good transparency otherwise its not going to manage to replace most web images, if it does it will be very handy to use.
  • -7 Hide
    drwho1 , October 3, 2010 7:31 PM
    Sorry Google thanks.... but NO thanks

    I take pictures on both JPG and RAW (and yea RAW files are huge) but the image quality is way better than JPG.

    This is like saying that a .KAR is the same quality than a .MWAV they are not.

    Another example is trying to compare a 480i signal to 1080P sure a 480i file will be smaller but nowhere as good.
  • 0 Hide
    onyx_64 , October 3, 2010 7:45 PM
    Of all those sample images, I was only able to spot a small difference in one of those images. I'm liking this already!
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , October 3, 2010 7:52 PM
    Whatever happened to JPEG2000? We don't need another format, we just need people to use the ones already out there. But it's always hard to supplant the first to cross the line. MP3 is hardly the best codec out there for music anymore, but it's about the only format guaranteed to work everywhere. Without browsers other than Chrome supporting WebP, it too will go by the wayside.
  • 1 Hide
    steelbox , October 3, 2010 8:11 PM
    gmarsackYeah, seriously. lol By then, no one will care since everyone will have internet connections that are 10 times as fast. Not only do developers have to support the new standard, so also would web browsers. It would take 15 years alone for everyone (stupid IE6 users!) to finally download and install a browser that could decode the image.


    [rant]You think the world resolves around you and that every one has the same internet speed as you. Stop and think for once. The internet is not just for you and the image formats are not deisgn just for those that are fortunate enought to have cheap 5+ mb internet speed. Open your eyes to the rest of the world who have an basic internte. For, this advances are a bless[/rant]
  • -2 Hide
    ta152h , October 3, 2010 8:15 PM
    It's one thing to be smaller, but since it's a lossy technology, is the quality worse than JPEGs. Nothing in this article said it's the same quality, and smaller, just that it's smaller. Smaller and lower quality is easy.
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