Many ground-breaking innovations take time to come in the spotlight and Google's new WebP image format is one of them.

WebP provides both lossless and lossy compression for images. The lossless images are found to be 28% smaller in size compared to PNGs, and lossy images are 25-34% smaller compared to JPEG images while providing comparable image quality.

In addition to the smaller size, WebP also supports features like animation, ICC color profile, XMP meta-data and tiling. Lets see an example.

JPEG image(11.7Kb) WebP image (4Kb)

 If you can view the image on the right, your browser supports WebP.

Windows and most Linux flavors doesn't support WebP format natively and because it is relatively new, fewer browsers and image editors support it. Amongst browsers, only Google Chrome and Opera have native support. Firefox has put it on hold complaining that its still an uncooked cookie and Internet Explorer has just chosen to ignore it for now. But if you happen to stumble across a WebP image, you can still view and edit it using these tricks-

Viewing a WebP Image.

As mentioned earlier, since Google chrome and Opera have native support for WebP, you can use either of them to view a WebP image. But if you want native support for WebP on Windows, you can install the WebP Codec Pack for Windows which works on XP, vista and windows 7.

With the codec pack installed, applications like Photo viewer, Office, or any other program that uses the Windows imaging component will be able to render WebP images properly. You can even see thumbnails in Windows Explorer.

Editing WebP images

Image editing softwares like XnConvert, ImageMagick and Konvertor support editing WebP images. But for Gimp and Photoshop, the two most popular heavyweights in the field, you need to install extensions -

The Internet is expanding like never before and network companies have been struggling to catch up. With images making up more than 80% of the total size of any common web page, smaller image size means better loading times, lesser congestion and better browsing experience. The days of WebP images dominating the web does not seem far.

Also see: How opera doubles speed with turbo using Webp