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OPLIN 4cast #395: Trimming down web images

Posted in 4cast

scissorsAbout four years have passed since Google announced that the company had decided to release a new image format called WebP. Back then, Google estimated that about 65% of Internet traffic was composed of images and photos, and WebP was designed to reduce the size of those image files and thus speed up loading time for web pages that used the WebP format. Lean image formats are back in the news lately because the Mozilla browser group has decided WebP is not the best solution to the problem of image bloat on the Internet, and has decided to release its own solution instead.

  • The story of WebP: How Google wants to speed up the web, one image at a time (GigaOM | Janko Roettgers)  “Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari don’t natively support WebP, and it’s unlikely that the makers of these browsers are going to change their mind anytime soon. That’s because like so often, everyone has their own vision of how the future is going to look like. Microsoft is pushing for its own format, dubbed JPEG XR, to replace traditional JPEGs, and Apple has long steered clear of Google’s media formats. The most logical ally for Google would be Mozilla, which has traditionally been a proponent of open media formats.”
  • Mozilla’s new Mozjpeg 2.0 image encoder improves JPEG compression (Techspot | Himanshu Arora)  “The JPEG format, which has been in use for more than 20 years, is one of the most widely used image formats on the Internet. It’s a lossy format, which means that you can remove some data to reduce the file size without significantly affecting the original image’s integrity. Google has been promoting the use of its WebP image format, a derivative of the video format VP8, but Mozilla has long resisted the call to adopt it.”
  • We don’t need new image formats: Mozilla works to build a better JPEG (Ars Technica | Peter Bright)  “Mozilla has also been looking at the issue, but the open source browser organization has come up with a different conclusion: we don’t need a new image format, we just need to make better JPEGs. To that end, the group has released its own JPEG compression library, mozjpeg 2.0, which reduces file sizes by around five percent compared to the widely used libjpeg-turbo. Facebook has announced that it will be testing mozjpeg 2.0 to reduce its bandwidth costs, similar to its WebP trial.”
  • Mozilla releases mozjpeg 2.0 as Facebook tests and backs the JPEG encoder with $60,000 donation (The Next Web | Emil Protalinski)  “Facebook could use the encoder on photos that users have already uploaded to the site, or it could apply it dynamically on images that are regularly accessed, such as profile pictures or link thumbnails. Whatever the case may be, the potential to reduce loading time is very high, given that Facebook is such an image-heavy service.”

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