WebP: Google's new attempt at speeding up the web

Summary:Anything to make the web faster is good in my books -- but I have a question. Why are we worried about fractionally speeding up the web when we live in a broadband world that's just getting faster and faster anyway?

In their latest attempt to make the web even faster, Google has devised their own image format to rival JPEG. Since forever, JPEG has been doing a great job of compressing photographic images -- it doesn't support transparency, like other formats, but it does what it was meant to do very well.

Google has determined that JPEG isn't the best format for that anymore. WebP is a new compression that achieves an impressive average 30% reduction in file size for images. Google will be proposing an update for WebKit that will make viewing those images in a browser actually possible.

Now, I'm not complaining here -- anything to make the web faster is good in my books -- but I have a question. Why are we worried about fractionally speeding up the web when we live in a broadband world that's just getting faster and faster anyway? The web is speeding up far more quickly from just network speeds improving than tweaking compression on files that are usually only used to show photographs online.

Sure, Sites like Flickr might see notable speedups -- with each page showing several jpeg images typically -- but most webpages largely use png or gif images (when you can't do something in CSS).

I'll stop whining now. WebP is still cool, and like I said before, anything to make the web faster is good in my books.

Topics: Browser, Google

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