As part of its initiatives to make the web faster, Google unveiled a new open-source image format called WebP. This new image format is aimed at further compressing lossy images to make them load faster all the while preserving quality and resolution. Google believes that images not compressed properly can significantly slow down a user’s web experience, especially on mobile devices.
In its experiment to test the effectiveness of the new image format, Google engineers were able to reduce images compressed in other formats like JPEGs, PNGs and GIFs by 39% in their file size. Google has launched a site dedicated to the WebP image format to allow developers assess its performance against other formats. There is also a gallery comparing WebP and JPEG images. You will also find a Linux conversion tool to convert images to the WebP format. Finally, Google is working on a patch for the WebKit browser engine to provide native support for rendering WebP.
It will be interesting to see how WebP is adopted by the industry. I still remember the early days when PNG was getting traction and how it took years to be fully compatible in all browsers.