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Images undoubtedly make up a large percentage of data, reportedly up to 65% of the total bytes that makes up the data on the Web.

In its efforts to make the Web faster, Google has come up with a new file format, known as WebP to further compress the file size of these image files.

The reduction of file sizes should enable websites to load a whole lot faster.

Richard Rabbat, a lead production manager at Google, wrote in a blog post, “In order to gauge the effectiveness of our efforts, we randomly picked about 1,000,000 images from the web (mostly JPEGs and some PNGs and GIFs) and re-encoded them to WebP without perceptibly compromising visual quality. This resulted in an average 39% reduction in file size. We expect that developers will achieve in practice even better file size reduction with WebP when starting from an uncompressed image.”

The smaller file sizes would also make the transfer of images much faster, as well as enable storage of more images for a smaller amount of disk space.

Samples of the converted files can be viewed on this page (in a PNG container as browsers do not yet support the WebP file format)

Personally, I don’t think WebP will replace JPEG as a standard just yet. What I really want to know is why the JPEG 2000 format hasn’t received wider support.