Today google announced a new improved image format for use on the web. They hope that the new webP format will replace the old JPG format that is in common use today.
According to google, 65% of web traffic is images. Anything that can reduce the size of those images will help to speed up the web generally.
That is the aim of the new format. It’s creators claim that on average, webP will reduce image file sizes by 39% compared to JPG. Like the old JPG format, the webP format is lossy – that is, you can trade quality for size to compress files as much as you are comfortable with. DNS Elite does see some problems with this new format.
The first and probably most important is support for the format in web browsers. Without decent cross-browser support, the new format will fail to take off.
Just look at other new image formats such as PNG and SVG. Even years and years after their creation, and even though everyone agrees they are better than their alternatives, they still lack full cross browser support. Without this, designers are reluctant to use these formats.
The new webP format may suffer the same fate. There is a catch 22 involved of course. Most browser creators won’t introduce a new feature unless there is demand and designers won’t use a feature that is not fully supported across the range, including old legacy browsers.
So webP has its work cut out as a new image file format. It could be 10 years or more before we see it take significant market share, if ever.