September 23, 2019

Google will be soon forcing a new image format

A while ago, Google started recommending a new image format for the web. Yes, "change", it's forever on the web. They call it progress. Based on prior experience with Google and the high-bar set for websites, everyone will need to go with the flow. They are calling it WebP, a snazzy name for lossy images which can be 25-34% smaller than comparable JPEG (gasp!) images at similar or equivalent SSIM quality index. This means we have to migrate to WebP. Boo! Yay for developers with plenty of time on their hands to whittle at old websites (feel the sarcasm burn-in right now).

There are some solutions. Namely conversion tools are starting to flood the market to "assist" users to convert and/or serve the new format. Within WordPress websites a number of plugs are already trying to combat the old format. WebP Express is one of those plugins. There are others as well, but keep in mind, large websites such as shopping carts, catalogs, photo websites and galleries might not be as friendly. It's not unknown that the world wide web has many more images than websites. What we will be testing, if these image conversion tools can keep up with 3K or even 5K images on a website. Clients that tend to their site within B2C areas usually are prolific about images and several thousand large images uploaded in a year is par for the course.

Lastly, we all benefit from this, regardless of the amount of developer pain or quality of the conversion tools. The web will be faster, and for mobile (thin-client) devices, they need all they can get. Let's rejoice! You can learn more from big G right here.

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