The WebP format was developed by Google in 2010 as a way to encode digital graphic image data. Prior to the WebP format, popular image file formats used on the internet include the Graphic Interchange Format (GIF), the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG), and the Portable NetWork Graphics (PNG) formats.
The WebP image format is created by applying compression algorithms created by Google to process digital image files. The major benefit of the WebP compression algorithms is that they produce images with reduced file sizes compared to other image formats, without any perceptible loss of quality to the human eye.
WebP offers both lossy and lossless compression. Lossy compression employs imprecise approximation techniques and the discarding of less important bits of image data, while lossless compression is exactly what it implies: no data is “tossed out” to make a file smaller. Prior to WebP, the JPEG format was the dominant lossy image file format, while the PNG format was the dominant lossless file format.
WebP format offers both the advantages of JPEG (lossy compression) and PNG (lossless compression) file formats. Lossy WebP images are, on average, about one-third smaller than their JPEG counterparts, while lossless WebP images are generally about one-quarter smaller. The significantly reduced file sizes are especially beneficial for online content, as they consume less bandwidth and speed up page load times, improving user experience.
In addition, WebP also supports animated content, which is traditionally the domain of the lossless GIF image file format.
Although the WebP file format offers all the key features of the three most popular file image formats that preceded it at a much reduced file size, it was not well-supported (initially). However, today all major web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari (version 14 onwards) support WebP. Therefore, when considering which image file format to use online, the WebP file format should be the top choice given its advantages and wide support.
Any (specific) format used to transfer or save information. This is used in video, file types and more.
Compression involves running an algorithm to make a file/image/etc. smaller. There are two modes of compression: lossy and lossless.
A GIF refers to images encoded in the Graphic Interchange Format (GIF).
A PNG refers to images encoded in the Portable NetWork Graphics format (GIF).
A JPEG refers to an image encoded in the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) format.