The WebP Image Format

Did you know there is a new image format in the digital world? Google released *.webp in November of last year as a way to store images in a smaller file size. While the format is more efficient than JPEG (25% to 34% smaller), it has the same abilities as PNG and GIF (Lossless & lossy compression, alpha channels, and animation support). So far this new format is only intended for the web. It is supported (meaning you can see pictures formatted this way) in Chrome and Opera. Facebook recently switched to this format which caused some users concern for images that suddenly didn’t render (looks like they have switched back).

Can you see this (a webP formatted image)?

Google provides a plug in for Internet Explorer, and Android (Ice Cream Sandwich) via their Frame plug-in. They also offer a WebP converter (free download) for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. Other software that can convert these files includes Picasa, Pixelmator, ImageMagick, Konvertor, ReaConverter, XnView, and of course my favorite, IrfanView! There are also free plug-ins for Photoshop and GIMP too (if history is any example, expect Photoshop to soon have a Camera Raw update for this).

It will take time but I think this format is going to catch on. Google does not restrict its use and it will make web pages load much faster (think phones). In the example above (that you may or may not see) the original jpg version was 443 KB jpg while the webp version in the link is only 213 KB.

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2 Responses to “The WebP Image Format”

  1. The Photoshop plug in can be found at http://telegraphics.com.au/sw/product/WebPFormat#webpformat. Although the 64bit version says CS4/5, it does work in my CS6 x64.
    B.T.W. these are 24 bit images (that’s a good thing!)

  2. When I downloaded the webp file I found it was 1280 x 853 at 150 dpi (Hugh). Size on disk was a tiny 140 KB, WOW! When I converted it (using Irfanview), size on disk was 644 KB. And YES, you can save images from Irfanview in the new WebP format!!!

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