Comprehensive WebP Guide as the Future Image Format

Today there are many image formats, ranging from JPEG, PNG, GIF to TIFF, etc. Which one do we choose? Of course, we choose what is suitable according to the purpose. What about new formats? Will there be new formats that people going to use? According to our research, there is a new reputation of an image format lately used in our digital media, called WebP image format. It was invented by Jyrki Alakuijala (Google developer), a genius with superb expertise in file compression. So, let's find out together what WebP is by continuing reading this article.

 

New Image Format That Is Better for Web

Image is the main part, the main actor of web page content. Likewise, with the size. It can be very big and heavy. So, it is very important for web developers to compress the file quality and size in order to provide fast load times. However, you should be able to choose the right compression method to produce small sizes files that still maintain their quality. There are three considerations when choosing an image format for web developers:
Do you need transparency?
Does it need animation?
Does it require high quality?

PNG is a type of file that supports transparency and compression. This allows you to specify an alpha channel for your image, for transparent areas, as well as the option to enable lossless compression. Image quality remains identical to the original file, and this causes the size to tend to be slightly larger.

JPG is the best image format for you if you don't need transparency and animation. It is generally designed to handle high-quality photo data compression but provides a preconfigured set of Lossy compression options. It allows you to reduce the compression quality and size.

Or, you can use the other format, WebP. This trending type of file, created by Google developer, not only comes with compression but also transparency and animation. As well as using both "lossy" and "lossless" compressor combinations, much like the JPG. So, you can determine the quality level and file size. The WebP image format can save up to 30% compared to the JPG. But unfortunately, this type of file has not been adopted in all web browsers, so that developers who adopt this type of file must also adapt to the users' web browsers.

 

What is WebP?

It is an image format from Google that provides lossy compression and transparency. A lossy WebP image format is supported on Android 4.0 (API level 14), and later, lossless and transparent file is supported on Android 4.3 (API level 18) and up.

Next, we want to talk about the pros and cons are. Some of the advantages certainly raise some reasons why this type of file is popular among many people. Meanwhile, the shortcomings also caused some people to back away from using this image format. Let's take a look at the advantages of using WebP image format, and they are as follows:

1.Smaller in size

It has a smaller size when compared to other types of files such as JPEG and PNG. Due to their smaller size, the WebP image format is an excellent choice for web developers. We use this image format when we want to make it appear faster on web pages. However, the smaller size doesn't reduce the quality of the file.

2.Good transparency

It has better transparency when compared to other image formats such as PNG. For reasons of better transparency, the WebP image format is a good choice for designers. It gave more flexibility of transparency when it was used on web pages. You can give it a try to see how it does.

3.The resulting image radiance

It is an image format that, if we pay attention closely, has a more color radiance than JPEG or PNG. The image and color radiance of a WebP type has much better performance than that of JPEG and PNG. The image will look better when compares to the other types. Let's try to prove it.

4.Easy to open and edit

It is easier to use for processing and editing, and it's much easier than JPEG and PNG. The reason is that it is intended for web applications, so it makes the editing or exporting process using those web applications will be much practical, simple, and light to the process.

5.Excellent for web applications

Why is it so good for web applications? Web applications or web pages are programs that run on the internet where it requires minimal processing effort. Well, the WebP image format is the best choice because of its versatility of what we have mentioned above, and it is more fluid and editable than the other options.

So there are plenty of advantages that make this format preferred among the others. However, there are also some negative sides to why this format hasn't been functionally globalized yet. Let's discuss the shortcomings of WebP image format, and the drawbacks are as follows:

1. Only certain browsers that support the WebP format

Only certain browsers support the WebP image format. Among them are Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Opera Mini, Android Browser, Edge, and Samsung Internet. All of these browsers can load images in the WebP format. Chrome is a very familiar browser today and is a big advantage for WebP because the file can be run in Chrome so that many people can view using the WebP image format via Chrome. Firefox is also a successful browser where it is very suitable for this type of file. Likewise, other browsers that support WebP are quite well-known and are used by many people.

2. Not familiar yet

Why is the WebP image format unfamiliar? One reason for this is that this image format has only recently been trending. So, it has not been familiarized to digital society as when compared to JPEG and PNG. It will take time to make it as huge as the other format because, when we look at the advantages, I believe more and more people will be attracted to use this type of visual file in the future.

 

Who are the Inventor, Developer, and User of the WebP

The WebP image format was created by the Google developer, which purposefully aims to reduce the size of visual files on the page of a website or blog. And one of its intentions is to implement the format into Youtube's thumbnail display. This can be proven from the loading of their site, which is not slow and still maintains a good quality.

And then Facebook also implemented this type of file on their Facebook mobile / Android. It really helps the image viewing performance on its platforms. Creativeku.com site has also successfully implemented the use of this format to support the speed and performance of the blog.

Based on what we have researched, every big web-based company started to convert their displayed images into WebP type. And it shows that these companies have put their interests in having the benefits of this type of file.

 

WebP Characteristic

The WebP lossy compression algorithm is based on the intraframe encoding of VP8 and RIFF. Thus, it is a block-based transformation scheme with an eight-bit depth of color and a luminance chrominance model with 1:2 chroma subsampling (YCbCr 4:2:0). Without any further content, the RIFF container is required to have only twenty bytes of overhead, although it can also hold additional metadata. The maximum side length of the image type is 16,383 pixels.

WebP is based on block prediction. Each block is predicted based on the value of the three blocks above it and from one block to the left. There are four basic models of block prediction, namely horizontal, vertical, DC, and TrueMotion. Mispredictable data and unpredictable blocks are compressed in 4×4pixel sub-blocks by discrete cosine transformation or Walsh - Hadamard transformation. Both transformations are performed with fixed-point arithmetic to avoid rounding errors. The output is compressed by entropy encoding. It also has explicit support for parallel decoding.

Implementation benchmarks consist of a software converter in the form of a Linux command line program and a programming library. The open-source community quickly succeeded in porting the converter to other platforms, such as Windows.

WebP uses advanced techniques such as special entropy codes for different color channels, taking advantage of the 2D locality of the backward reference distance and color caching of recently used colors. It complements basic techniques such as dictionary coding, Huffman encoding, and color indexing transformations. This format uses a recursive definition which is coded in the same way as all the files themselves.

The WebP container (for example, the RIFF container for WebP) enables feature support above and above the basic use case (for example, a file containing a single image encoded as a VP8 keyframe). The container provides additional support for:
  • Lossless compression - The file can be compressed lossless using the WebP Lossless Format.
  • >Metadata - The file may have metadata saved in Exif or XMP format.
  • Transparency - The file may have transparency, that is, the alpha channel.
  • Color Profile - The file may have an ICC profile embedded as described by the International Color Consortium.
  • Animation - The file may have multiple frames with breaks in between, making it animated.

  

Plugin to Compress Into WebP Format

If you have WordPress, you can also compress your original files into WebP format. There are three plugins that you can use, namely Short Pixel, Imagify, and Optimole.

1. Short Pixel

Short Pixel is a popular plugin that is useful for image optimization in WordPress. One of the included features is that it can automatically compress the file to WebP format. Vice versa, Short Pixel can also compress your image to the original format if the supported browser does not support the files. Apart from that, it also has other benefits, which is that it can compress the size of your PDF document with just one click.

Go to ShortPixel

 

2. Imagify

The next interesting plugin is Imagify. Imagify is an image optimization plugin designed by WP Rocket, which is a premium caching plugin that is no less popular than the previous plugin, Short Pixel. Just like the previous plugins, this plugin can compress the size of the images you upload in WordPress, be it in JPEG, PNG, or WebP formats. Imagify has a lot in common with the ShortPixel plugin. But in terms of price, this plugin offers a limit on the capacity of the compressed file.

Go to Imagify

 

3.Optimole

The last interesting plugin recommendation is Optimole. This plugin generally has the same functionality as the previous two plugins. It's just that the User has an additional feature in the form of image optimization that is adjusted from the User's browser screen. For example, visitors to your blog, WordPress, or website have a smartphone that, of course, has a smaller screen so that the resulting image resolution will be lower than the desktop screen but still have high quality.

Go to Optimole

 

WebP Codec for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS

Google is slowly changing the image files in Chrome or Opera to the WebP format. Today, almost any visual file you open in Chrome or Opera will save as the image format. The advantages of WebP compression also sparked Facebook to use the image format. When someone uploads an image, Facebook will automatically duplicate it in WebP format.

So, when you open Facebook via Chrome or Opera, and save an image, the file will be saved as a WebP file. Another developer who uses the same format is Telegram. They use this format for stickers on instant messaging apps. The reason Telegram and Facebook use WebP is to reduce data costs on their servers, as well as to speed up access to the web/application.

Since not all hardware adopts WebP, you need software if you want to convert JPG, PNG, and other image formats to WebP, or vice versa. The easiest software, and of course free, that you can use is CloudConvert.com.

 

CloudConvert.com

It is a web-based image converter that you can use very easily. Once you check their website, all you need to do is upload your image and choose the format you'd like to convert. Once done, you can download back the file in a format you desired. With this converter, you can convert files such as PNG, JPG / JPEG, GIF, TIF / TIFF, BMP, RPG, XPM, PIC, PDF, EPS, etc., to WebP file type and vice versa.

Go to CloudConvert

 

Other Important Insight

WebP is a modern image format that provides lossless and lossy compression aimed at images on the web. By using that type of file, webmasters and web developers can create images at a smaller size without reducing the quality, thus making the web faster. This will be very useful for mobile users as they consume less bandwidth.

Google promises lossless WebP files are 26% smaller than PNG, and lossy files 25-34% smaller than JPEG. As explained above, the advantage of WebP is its smaller size. Compressing visual files to make them smaller and more efficient usually takes their quality away. In general, the more you compress an image, the worse it will look. For example, the image will have a lot of noise.

Files saved in the WebP format can be made significantly smaller than JPEG and PNG, and of course, it maintains the same quality. It is also important that this type of file supports transparency. Transparent images are very useful on the web, of course. You can use it for logos and so on—an interesting alternative to png.

The WebP file type has the potential to speed up your website, even better than using compressed PNG or JPEG. This is because it uses a more efficient compression algorithm. It comes in both lossy and lossless varieties and produces smaller file sizes at comparable quality.

 

Conclusion

WebP gives so many advantages for web users, which makes us believe that this image format is going to be the future format of all online-based images. However, there still has a few crucial drawbacks that we hope can be improved in the long run. One of the main drawbacks is that the file type is not currently supported by all browsers, although a growing number of browsers have added support. So currently, if we use WebP on the web, we also have to think about how the image will load in a web browser that doesn't support the format. So, it will take a little more work but can be useful for performance efficiency.

So tell us what you think about the trending WebP image format. Is it really going to be useful in the future, or is it just a trend that comes and goes? Write down your comments in the section below. We hope you enjoy this information and have a great day! Cheers!

 

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