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Google unleashes Zopfli algorithm to improve website compression

With an eye to making websites load faster, Google has rolled out a new compressing algorithm that can shrink the contents of a webpage by eight per cent - three to eight times more effectively than the current standard zlip software library.

The new algorithm, dubbed Zopfli, is a variation on the Deflate algorithm and is designed to compress all types of data within a webpage, thereby reducing page sizes and speeding up the transmission of data.

"The higher data density is achieved by using more exhaustive compression techniques, which make the compression a lot slower, but do not affect the decompression speed," said Lode Vandevenne, a Google engineer on team that programmed Zopfli.

"The smaller compressed size allows for better space utilization, faster data transmission, and lower web page load latencies," he said, pointing out that mobile users in particular can benefit from the smaller compression.

However, there's a flipside to Zopfli - it requires significantly more time to compress the data than Deflate does.

"Due to the amount of CPU time required — two to three orders of magnitude more than zlib at maximum quality — Zopfli is best suited for applications where data is compressed once and sent over a network many times, for example, static content for the web," Vandevenne said.