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Is WebP the future?

Over the past few months Google has been releasing a number of tools to help site owners speed up their sites. All of which have been a part of their initiative to make the web faster. Even with all this work, they still know that one of the major causes of slow websites are images. To help tackle this necessary evil, Google has now launched a new image format WebP, that promises to significantly reduce the byte size of photos on the web, allowing web sites to load faster than before.

WebP, pronounced as weppy, is a method of lossy compression that can be used on photographic images. The degree of compression is adjustable so a user can choose the trade-off between file size and image quality. If you are running a 64-bit Linux OS, you can download the pre-compiled webpconv binary here, if not, you can download the source code from here and build your own. Instructions on how to build from source can be found here. This link will tell you how to use it once you’ve installed it. They currently have not released a Windows compatible versions.

Ok, so you’ve installed WebP and used it convert a few of your images. Now what? Well, for you to start using them on your site, web browsers like IE, Firefox and Chrome will have to support them. Unfortunately, as of writting this post, non of them do. However Google have announced they plan to include support in WebKit, so Chorme will be the first to support WebP. When and whether the others will follow, we will have to wait an watch. Till then, if you wish to check out how good the WebP compressions is, Google recommend converting your WebP images to PNG. Since PNG is a lossless compression, it will render the WebP content as is, so you will know what it will look like. Check the webpconv options on how to convert a WebP file to PNG.


About the Author:

Hamish joined Bobcares in July of 2004, and since then has grown to be well versed in the Control Panels and Operating systems used in the Web Hosting industry today. He is highly passionate about Linux and is a great evangelist of open-source. When not at work, he keeps himself busy populating this blog with both technical and non-technical posts. When he is not on his Xbox, he is an avid movie lover and critic



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