Google To Set New Image Standard For The Web: WebP

Chromium Blog: WebP, a new image format for the Web:

“Images and photos make up about 65% of the bytes transmitted per web page today. They can significantly slow down a user’s web experience, especially on bandwidth-constrained networks such as a mobile network. Images on the web consist primarily of lossy formats such as JPEG, and to a lesser extent lossless formats such as PNG and GIF. “

In it’s ongoing mission to make the web superfast, Google wants to set a new image standard: WebP:

WebP is a method of lossy compression that can be used on photographic images. The degree of compression is adjustable so a user can choose the trade-off between file size and image quality.

A WebP file consists of VP8 image data, and a container based on RIFF. Webmasters, web developers and browser developers can use the WebP format to create smaller, better looking images that can help make the web faster.

I admit that something has to better than JPOG and GIF for web use and for a while now I thought was PNG. I’m not sure what kind of adoption this will get, Google has never really been known as a powerhouse in the Visual Awe department. Picassa is at best a consumer grade freebie alternative to the crap loaded onto your camera’s included CD/DVD. And Google images, although better in it’s recent upgrade is still no match for the artistic appeal and the quality of photos found on Flickr and to a degree Shutterbug.

We’re looking forward to working with the browser and web developer community on the WebP spec and on adding native support for WebP. While WebP images can’t be viewed until browsers support the format, we are developing a patch for WebKit to provide native support for WebP in an upcoming release of Google Chrome. We plan to add support for a transparency layer, also known as alpha channel in a future update.

If this thing is to take off as a web standard, don’t look for developers and browsers to adopt it. But look more towards the likes of iStockPhoto and Getty Images; these are the players with a vested interest in reducing their bandwidth costs while maintaining a high quality visual product.

UPDATE: (via MacUser)

Pixelmator claims that a forthcoming update to its photo editor this week will the world’s first to fully support Google’s new format.

I must admit this one took me a little by surprise but I’m actually quite pleased that Pixelmator is able to move in quicker than the Establishment of Adobe Bloatware.

1 comment

  1. I’m sure Larry and Sergei are sitting down for breakfast right about now with the folks at iStockPhoto and Getty, having a latte and a crumpet while they discuss how to convert their respective libraries to WebP!