Google just can’t leave anything alone. Give them two minutes with a computer and a couple of engineers and they’ll have reinvented something, made it better, quicker, smarter, easier. It’s what they do.
So what have they been up to now, those nerdy rascals? Their latest means of improving the world is.. images.
Since the inception of the web, the same formats have been used with little change. GIF was first, a small but low quality format designed for small logos. Next up was JPEG, a format designed to compress photographic images. Lastly, PNG came along to provide better support for transparency and compression.
But image formats are still heavy and clumsy and take up plenty of bandwidth. Google thinks it can help.
The new format, called WebP or ‘weppy’ will reduce file sizes by as much 40%. Websites will load faster. Servers will crank out data at higher rates. Kittens will meow slightly more playfully.
But will Weppy see widespread support? As a web developer, I’ll need to be able to save out from Photoshop as WebP and have the top five modern browsers recognize it before I can even think about adopting it as a primary format.
But until then, it’s great to know that someone somewhere is working to ease the strain on the web and make everyone’s lives run a little smoother.