Google's WebP: Future Image Format?

Posted by John Onwuegbu | Saturday, May 18, 2013 |

Google's obsession for speed and faster deployment of images on the web led to the development of WebP, an open-source image format which is an improvement on the compression that JPEG and PNG provides. WebP was officially announced in September 2010, as an alternative image format, with significant bytes savings of about 30% - 80% compared to JPEG and PNG.

The open-source image format, WebP took a center stage at the just concluded developers' conference Google I/O, with session covering the latest features, news and future roadmap of the WebP format.

Google has effectively implemented the new image format on its social networking platform, Google+ Android App and a host of other web service companies including Facebook have joined the WebP bandwagon. WebP's unique features includes ability to render transparent sections of an image with lossless compression as in the case of PNG and lossy as in JPEG (Lossy compression is shrinking of file with data losses, while Lossless compression retains original image).

Albeit, PNG supports image transparency, JPEG not supported; WebP can offer both transparent and more beautiful smaller fill size of lossy compression.

The encoding is based on Google VP8 codec, applied through the infra frame coding to push the envelope in still image coding. And runs on the WebM technology, which means any hardware that supports WebM will also support WebP.

The company hopes to push WebP into replacing current image formats, JPEG and PNG on the pros of increased efficiency and rendering speed recorded in the new format.