Most people are accustomed enough to JPEG, PNG, and GIFs that we don’t need to spell them out. In 2010, Google introduced WebP as a new image format to significantly reduce the byte size of photos on the web, enabling websites to load faster than before.
Why use WebP?
WebP is a modern image format that provides the best lossless and lossy compression for web-based image compression. Web developers and webmasters can use WebP to create smaller, richer pictures that speed up the web.
Introduction of WebP:
Google was the first to support WebP through the open-source Chromium project at the heart of its Chrome browser. It took some time for other businesses to incorporate the format.
YouTube discovered that using WebP thumbnails occurred in 10% faster page loads.
When Facebook switched to WebP, they saw a 25-35% drop in file size for JPEGs and an 80 percent drop in file size for PNGs.
Advantages of WebP:
- As previously stated, Google created WebP to support image-heavy websites load faster. According to one Google study, the format achieves this goal by offering 25-34 percent greater compression than JPEG files without sacrificing visual quality.
- That alone would be enough for website operators to prefer WebP over JPEG.
- WebP, like JPEG, supports lossy images, but it can also be used for lossless images, and its support for the alpha channel means it can provide similar transparency to PNGs. It has smaller file sizes ranging from 19% (lossless) to 64% (lossy). The format, like GIFs, can also be used to display animations.
- It means that, in some cases, the format outperforms existing formats by providing comparable image quality with much smaller file sizes.
- Google effectively created a triple threat, which means that people no longer have to manage multiple image file formats for their websites. It provides more advanced technology. It is especially important if they want to prioritize load times.
Compared to PNGs, WebP lossless images are 26% smaller in size. Lossy WebP images are 25-34% smaller than comparable JPEG images with the same SSIM quality index.
Transparency (also known as alpha channel) is supported by lossless WebP at the cost of only 22% more bytes. When lossy RGB compression is adequate, lossy WebP also supports transparency, typically offering three times the file size of PNG.
- Lossy WebP compression: It encodes an image using predictive coding; the VP8 video codec applies the same technique to compress video keyframes. Here, predictive coding predicts the values in a block based on the values in neighboring blocks of pixels, and then it encodes only the difference.
- Lossless WebP compression: This method uses previously seen image fragments to precisely reconstruct new pixels. It can still use a local palette if no interesting matches are found.
A WebP file comprises VP8 or VP8L image data and a RIFF container. The standalone ‘libwebp’ library is available as a tarball or from the git repository as a reference framework implementation for the WebP specification.
How to convert into WebP format?
- Many people use one of two methods to convert their images to WebP: the cwebp (command-line tool) and the Imagemin WebP plugin (npm package). The Imagemin WebP plugin is generally the best choice if your project uses to build scripts or tools (e.g., Webpack or Gulp), whereas the CLI is a great option for simple projects or if you only need to convert images once.
- Another effective way is to use the online tool as shown below: try out the following link:
- When converting images to WebP, you can choose from a diverse selection of compression settings—but for most people, the only one that matters is the quality setting. You can clarify a quality standard ranging from 0 (worst) to 100 (best).
- This is what the extension looks like after uploading:
How do I open a WebP file?
The browser is the most convenient way to open a WebP file. After all, that is the format’s intended use case, which appears to be becoming more common on popular websites.
A WebP file is also easier to work with outside of the browser. Several apps support the format. You should be capable of managing WebP files with the most recent versions of the most popular image editing apps.
Google Chrome, Firefox, and many other tools and software libraries natively support WebP. It includes a lightweight encoding and decoding library, making it more convenient.