WebP: What Apple’s beta could mean for its future

By in Pyxl Blog, Technology on July 31, 2016

WebP, an image format developed by Google, certainly isn’t new, but it’s currently on the verge of widespread adoption.  Apple has included it in the beta version of both iOS and MacOS, which is a step in the direction of it becoming cross-adopted across the major share browsers.  Chrome and other browsers using the core Chrome engine are already supporting WebP with good results.  If successful in Apple’s beta, other browsers would likely have no choice but to get on board in order to keep up with current standards.

WebP can reduce image sizes 25-35% compared to JPG, 80% compared with PNG, and 20-65% compared with GIF.  This compression is key for saving bandwidth on data plans, as well as in areas with slower internet connections in order to speed up the load time of pages and applications.  Facebook has adopted WebP after it sent a team of Engineers to Africa to investigate performance of its app in evolving countries

The important thing to note about WebP is the reduction rate of image size on multiple image formats.  WebP creates a reduction of size across JPG, PNG, and GIF, which means it’s a suitable alternative in most use cases.  It reduces the size of the already small JPG format, incorporates the transparency alternative of PNG and even has the option for animation like gifs.  If you’ve ever sat and waited on a GIF to load, you’ll understand how game-changing this could be.

You may be wondering what all of this means to you since it’s not been fully adopted yet.  The good news is, there are tools out there that allow you to use WebP natively on Chrome, and allows support on other browsers (Flash on IE).  This enables you to get the increased compression on one of the big four, but still support the other three until they natively adopt as well.

Since mobile plans and now broadband plans have almost all moved back to a metered bandwidth approach, keeping page size and load speed in mind is of the utmost importance.  

If you’d like to investigate what WebP can do to the speed of your website, web app, or native app, contact us at Pyxl to see how we can help.

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