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Google Upgrades WebP, Speeds Up Browsing

Google has unveiled a new and improved version of WebP, an image format, designed to reduce the image size on the Web and speed up browsing.

The WebP format, which is a still-image version of Google’s royalty free, open source WebM video technology, was introduced by the company last year in 2010.

Thanks to its reduced size, if Google can truly persuade users to use the WebP format instead of JPEG, it is likely to result in a faster browsing speed.

"WebP's compression algorithms have been significantly improved while remaining completely compatible with the previous releases," Google product manager Richard Rabbat and programmer Pascal Massimino revealed in a blog post last week.

“On the decoding side, we have integrated a fancy upsampler. Fancy upsampling reduces the pixelation of strong edges. You can see this feature when you zoom in,” the blog post added.

The improved version of the format will also be equipped with a technology that will allow the image-data to be internally decoded during its download. With this feature, users won’t have to wait for the entire file to download before being able to watch it. This feature, however, is already available in Google Chrome 12.