There’s an old saying that goes, “Anything electronic will last forever of five years, whichever comes first.” That’s a sentimentderived largely from the Windows 98 era when file extensions changing or new operating systems being released meant you no longer had access to old files. While the saying is still worth remembering (if only for a giggle), it’s also far less true. The advancement of the web, for example, isn’t destroying the old version. HTML 5 and CSS 3 simply add more while enhancing the rest. For that reason, there should be nothing to dread when it comes to the WebP image type announced by Google in September of last year.
What Is WebP?
The WebP image format is a new format derived from the WebM technology and the VP8 codec. It allows an image to retain all its quality while reducing its overall size and making it possible to load images before the browser has finished decoding them.Support for “decode as you load” image display will be made available in Chrome as early as version 12. As with any new format, however, WebP must face the challenges of convincing the masses to adopt. Google, as usual, is trying to bribe everyone with features.
The New WebP Features and Google Adoption
Most of the new features in WebP are just attempts to do the same thing the format is supposed to do, only better. These features include:
- Fancy upsampling. This technique allows the format to reduce pixelation on hard edges in images.
- Image bit segmenting. To improve the quality of images and make encoding more effective, the WebP format will now have bits of web data redistributed within different sections of the image based on the difficulty of rendering the image in high quality.
- JNI support. The WebP now allows Java programs to access and decode images of this format.
Beyond simply throwing features at the format and hoping it’ll get users and webmasters to stick, Google has spread support through several of their own services, including Gmail, Picasa Web Albums, and Chrome. Opera also supports WebP andAppEngine will be supporting the format shortly.
[via the Google Chromium Blog]