What exactly is a JPEG?

If you use the internet (and obviously you do) you likely see JPEGs every single day. What are they? We know that they present the images that we see on websites to us in visual form, but let’s take a deeper look into the Joint Photographic Experts Group.

In 2012, the photograph of Barack and Michelle Obama embracing after his re-election was ‘liked’ over 4 million times. That photo, like the 250 million other images uploaded to Facebook every day is standardized; it is a JPEG-encoded image. When Obama’s staff uploaded that image to Facebook, the company’s software recognized it as JPEG-encoded data and created 4 different sized images using the JPEG compression standard built into its photo-management system. The image became visible to Obama’s “friends” (and, apparently, to the NSA’s). It became ‘Like-able’ and ‘Share-able’ generating new data points in Facebook. If Obama’s staff had tried to upload a different type of image — a RAW-encoded file or a Photoshop file, for example — Facebook’s software would not have recognized it. It would have refused to upload and the data and image would have remained invisible. The digital image, the political message would not have done its work.

Read full article