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Google reveals more web-friendly compression

by on20 March 2017

Slow to compress quicker to open

Google Research come up with a better way of encoding JPEG images which can cut a third off JPEG image file-sizes with equal (or improved) appearance.

The whole thing comes at a cost of greater time needed for compression but as far as the web is concerned that is not really an issue.

The new method was announced by Google software engineers Robert Obryk and Jyrki Alakuijala who claim that the new compression algorithm does not affect web compatibility either.

“Guetzli produces smaller image file sizes without sacrificing quality, we additionally found that in experiments where compressed image file sizes are kept constant that human raters consistently preferred the images Guetzli produced over libjpeg images, even when the libjpeg files were the same size or even slightly larger. We think this makes the slower compression a worthy tradeoff,” they wrote.

Compression algorithms behind popular implementations of JPEG always lose pixel information which cannot be recovered. So Google needed to come up with a compression technique which downsamples in a manner which leads to the highest perceptual image quality possible.

Slower compression is likely to be an insignificant factor for desktop design environments but it might be slower to those uploading their selfies onto the web, although it will be a lot quicker and better for those trying to open the snaps.

It is probably a good time to make some changes. JPEG has been around for more than two decades and is ready for a rethink.

Last modified on 20 March 2017
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