updated 07:20 pm EDT, Thu September 30, 2010
Format designed to compete with JPEG
Google today said it would introduce a new image format designed to compete directly with current JPEG standards. The format, named WebP and pronounced "weppy," promises to reduce file sizes by 40 percent compared to JPEGs, which could help websites load faster and reduce strain on networks.
WebP is still affected by the same compression drawbacks as JPEG, as image quality suffers as the file size is reduced. However, they shouldn't lose quality and should reduce the overhead on mobile devices.
The search giant is currently in discussions with browser developers to bolster support for the new standard. The company will bring WebP support to its own Chrome browser some time in the next few weeks, although it is unclear if other browsers will adopt the format.
Risks existed of potential lawsuits. WebP currently uses still frames from the WebM video format and is potentially subject to the same patent disputes raised by the MPEG-LA video standards group and its member companies share. Apple and other firms have so far been hesitant to use WebM as they don't want to risk the format being dropped through legal challenges. Google has so far maintained that WebM is patent-free but hasn't had direct evidence to this effect.