Saturday, October 2, 2010

WebP : the new JPEG Killer from Google.

Google wants to revolutionize images on the Web with a new format called WebP. This new format can cut image file sizes by 40 percent compared to today's dominant JPEG file format.So it will be helpful to faster file transfers and lower network burden if Google can convince people to adopt WebP.

WebP, like JPEG, is a "lossy" format, meaning it doesn't perfectly reproduce an original image but tries to keep as true to the original as possible when viewed by the human eye.

Though its competitor is built into every camera, Web browser, image-editing program, pharmacy photo-printing kiosk, and mainstream operating system in existence,Google is is so ambitious as to replace JPEG.

"When we took a bunch of images, recompressed them from their current lossy formats into WebP, we saw on average about 40 percent decrease in size, which is staggering," said Richard Rabbat, lead product manager on Google's "make the Web faster" effort. Shrinking images by that much is particularly important considering that, by Google's estimate, "65 percent of bytes on the Web are from images," he said.

JPEG is a tough guy to kill. Microsoft has been trying for years to promote an alternative, now standardized as the royalty-free JPEG XR format, which offers greater dynamic range, a wider range of colors, and more efficient compression. But JPEG XR so far hasn't made much progress beyond standardization and native support in Internet Explorer and Windows. An earlier effort, JPEG 2000, also hasn't much dented JPEG's popularity.

Though it takes lesser place it takes longer times too. Encoding WebP images takes about eight times longer than JPEG, Rabbat said, and decoding them somewhat less than twice as long. He also observed, though, that "a lot of technologies for lossy compression were invented in the 1970s when processors were slow and memory was expensive."

And hardware eventually could work in WebP's favor.

One convenient feature of WebP is that any hardware that supports WebM video encoding or decoding also supports WebP. That means a mobile phone with hardware support, for example, could take WebP photos.

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