WebP, a new image format for the Web

Someone told me about an announcement by Google: a new image format (to replace jpg basically).

Since it’s a lossy version, it’s not meant for things like logos or images with few colours. They have tested it on various image types, including PNG and GIF (not sure why you’d want to turn lossless into lossy), and claim an average of 39% drop in total file size. There are currently plans to add layers and alpha transparency.

No browser currently supports it but webkit is busy and supposedly the next release of Chrome browser will have it built-in. To view WebP images in a browser today, you’ll have to convert them back over to a lossless version like PNG to view.


I’m guessing Google wants many people to download the free open source converter and take a look themselves… maybe they want webdev pressure on the vendors to make this available in future browsers.

What I notice in the gallery is a distinct lack of artifact that I can see at all sharp corners and edges in the JPG versions (if you can’t see the artifact, zoom your browser… esp around the words on the ship Queen Mary).

Yeah my ideal fantasy world would have PNG be able to encode jpg’s (keep that nasty artifact away) without the ginormous filesizes… : ) I keep all my photos in PNG format where I store them so I can reuse them multiple times, and save as jpg for web.

…Then there’s still the patenting issues that prevent this from becoming a major web format… Google may have aqcuired VP8, but doesn’t hold all of it’s software patents!

Oh, submarine patent problem?

There is no point having new image format. It is totally unnecessary.

Well there was a reason for the basis of this image format: vp6-8 were trying to get video sizes down from über-ginormous to just ginormous.

I suppose if that can remove artifact from jpg-type images and make them smaller at the same time, I’m cool with that. I hateses the artifact, hateses it.

jpeg is 20 years old so it’s about time something new came onto the market… but it’s going to be a while to see if all the major players adopt it. Microsoft IE often doesn’t play by the rule books and I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for this to happen.

I’m not a huge fan of software patents. They are seriously flawed. However I don’t feel that patents in this case could hurt the adoption in the long run. Google is a force to be reckoned with. If anyone can give a new file format enough inertia it’s Google.

Also remember that jpeg and gif started their life as patented encumbered formats.

I’m not as concerned with lack of lossless in the new format as the old crusty guy is. We have PNGs after all. We don’t want all our tools to be swiss army knives.

I agree with you there.

There is no point having new image format. It is totally unnecessary. We already have enough formats to cater for all sectors of the graphics World. Google should have used their efforts and money to other more worthy causes in the Web World.

I am a huge supporter of open standards pushing internet progress forward (and VP8 is great for video), but there are already a number of options for open formats (not open codecs) that massively improve on the basic jpeg such as JPEG HR - it’s not free of patents, but MS appear to be very loose in the way they license it and it is a much better photographic codec than webp as it was designed for static images from scratch rather than video (webp is just a still shot of webm).

Some crusty graphics guy gives a (bad) review though it looks like he was comparing vp8 itself with jpgs.

Man I can’t even view most of those image types : )

Another comparison, but I don’t even begin to understand what the hell’s going on there… I’m not a graphics nut : )