Google’s New Image Format WebP A Serious Threat To JPEG & PNG

WebPBack in the days when dial up connections were the norm, loading images on the browser was a giant pain. It just took too much time and bandwidth. With high speed Internet, this is hardly a concern today.

Nowadays websites are more visual and dynamic than ever before. Especially when it comes to images on websites, most of them are at a much higher resolutions than before. JPEG and PNG are some of the most common image formats that we come across on the Internet.

Even smartphones nowadays come with full HD resolutions making it important for website designers to use higher resolution images. A lot of the new websites go for full screen images or hi-resolution ones, which end up being large files when used in the JPEG and PNG formats. These large file sizes affect web space usage as well as eats up precious data bandwidth especially for users with slow Internet speeds. Inspite of having tools to reduce the size, none of them can achieve it without loss of image quality and in some cases even image pixelation.

To tackle all these issues current image formats face, developers at Google came up with a new image format called WebP. The new format can give you image quality comparable to other web image formats like JPEG and PNG at a much smaller file size and it also supports transparency(Alpha Channel).

WebP was first announced by Google in 2010 as a new open standard for lossily compressed true-color graphics on the web, with smaller file sizes compared to JPEG format images of similar quality.

The format uses a lossy compression algorithm that is based on the intra-frame coding used in the VP8 video format. Currently browsers with native support for WebP include Google Chrome,Opera and the Google Chrome Frame plug-in for Internet Explorer. WebP can also be viewed on browsers using WebPJS JavaScript library.

Today most of the images you find on the app previews on the Google Play store are in the WebP format. Try saving one of them and the file format in the save request is WebP.

WebP is all set to take online images to the next level. Even though currently there aren’t too many adopters for WebP, some of its advantages like small file size leading to faster load time and lower bandwidth usage and Alpha Channel support that allows image transparency gives it a good advantage over the existing image formats common on the web like PNG and JPEG.

That was all talk. Now let’s see WebP in action.

WebP Comparison
These are the same 100% zoom views of the same images in the three different formats along with their corresponding file sizes. WebP looks like the winner and the comparison image says it all.

You can try out the new WebP format with the help of the tolls and browsers available over the Internet. Some of the tools that you can use are mentioned below.

Tools for WebP

  • Cloudconvert will allow you to convert WebP into multiple other image formats and vice versa.
  • Online Convert allows you to convert multiple other image formats to the WebP format. This converter also can convert animated GIF files to animated WebP files.
  • WebP Codec for Windows will allow Windows applications that support Windows Imaging Component (WIC) to access WebP format.
  • You can also convert images from PNG and JPEG to WebP using the pre-compiled cwebp conversion tool for Linux, Windows or Mac OS X available here.

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