Images on the web in this format — which CNET reports will be officially announced later today — will have smaller file sizes, load faster and relieve a lot of overclocked networks. They won’t necessarily look better — WebP images are as “glossy” as JPEGs — but the files might be around 40% smaller than JPEG files.
And since Google () estimates 65% of the bytes on the web are images, that represents a quarter of the total amount of data we access and transmit online. Who wouldn’t change formats for a web that could be 26% faster?
The sticking point is JPEG’s popularity. This format dominates the web and related devices, from Flickr (
Google released its WebM video format at Google I/O, the company’s developer conference. This format was to be supported in HTML5’s <video> tag. In the world of video, Google has one huge advantage: YouTube (
However, Google doesn’t have the same advantage when it comes to images. The company owns Picasa (
Where Google does have some weight, however, is in the browser arena. By focusing on the browser as the most important platform of our time, Google has seen Chrome (
Google has taken a leading role in developing a faster, better, more standards-compliant web browser for some time now, and it’s talking to other browser makers about WebP support, which would mean a faster browsing experience for everyone. Expect to see WebP-formatted images on Chrome within a few weeks.
Also, just like WebM, WebP is an open-source format.
We know Google has a long row to hoe before it reaps WebP’s rewards, but this dramatic reduction in file size and the potential for faster browsing seems like something all browser makers and device manufacturers would want to deliver to users.
What do you think? Is it likely that WebP will ever become the standard that JPEG is today?