Picture This: Google Introduces WebP

Picture This: Google Introduces WebP

Google introduces WebP

Not content to make your internet searches instantaneous, Google is hard at work making images on the web load faster.

They have just announced WebP (pronounced “weppy”), a new image format that promises to reduce the file size of images by an average of 39% while maintaining the same quality. According to Google, images and photos account for 65% of data transmitted over the web daily. By reducing the size of image files, your website will load faster, which not only improves your user experience, it saves you money on hosting fees and improves your Google page rank results. Yes, Google factors the speed that your site loads into its page ranking equation.

This all sounds great, but before you contact Atomicdust to convert all your site images over to WebP, you should know that the new format has an uphill battle to fight against the entrenched standard we have had for decades – JPEG.

Currently there are no browsers that support displaying WebP images. Goolge’s own browser, Chrome, will probably be the first, and others are sure to follow. The catch is, a large section of web users never upgrade their browser and just use whatever came installed on their computer. Supporting these users will require making two copies of every image on the site- WebP for newer browsers and JPEG for older ones.

So for now, the internet will have to stick with the tried and true (but showing its age at this point) JPEG format.


imageTaylor Dixson is a founding member of Atomicdust and has been creating motion graphics for over 10 years. Taylor has explored the boundaries and pushed the limits of animation and interaction on the web. He is also very handsome.

  • At least we’re moving forward with a new format.  Although it could take another decade to become a standard.  Too bad.  Maybe more browsers will start updating in the background like Chrome does.  Users never even know it happened.

  • Billy Richardson

    I’m a big believer in most of the stuff Google does and I think that they are certainly in the position to uproot the JPEG format. They have demonstrated with Android that they know a thing or two about getting their products rapidly adopted in to the marketplace and the average internet user tends to have a positive view of Google and their products. I do think they jumped the gun on announcing it as WebP is hardly in a state to compare it with other image formats. It is largely unfinished, but it will be extremely interesting to see what happens when the format is complete.

    As a developer I will certainly be happy about a new image format that combines the two main reasons we use JPEG and PNG-24 (image size and an alpha channel).

  • I don’t think it will become mainstream until it’s a ‘Save for Web’ option in Photoshop.