Google's new algorithm can compress JPEGs 35% more than now available methods

Google's new algorithm can compress JPEGs 35% more than now available methods

Google's new algorithm can compress JPEGs 35% more than now available methods

The company bills this as a new (albeit slow at the moment) way for websites to crunch their images, reducing file size for faster page loading without sacrificing quality.

While Guetzli creates smaller image file sizes, the trade-off is that these search algorithms take longer to create compressed images. This will enable webmasters to develop webpages that can load faster while using comparatively less data.

The announcement by Google software engineers Robert Obryk and Jyrki Alakuijala explains that the new compression algorithm does not affect web compatibility (like the average video format, digital image formats are essentially wrappers for content that could be encoded in any number of ways - the important thing is that the browser/viewer/player knows how to handle the different compression formats it might find after the JPEG marker).

The new open source algorithm is called Guetzli, which is Swiss German for "cookie". The advantage to using Guetzli instead of a new format is that the images are still regular JPEG files, and so they're still compatible with nearly every browser and application that exists.

The higher level of compression was obtained by targeting the quantization stage of the image compression process, which, itself, focuses on image quality.

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There's no shortage of JPEG compression tools on the market, of course, and many of them are arguably easier to use than Guetzli is at the moment.

In the examples above, you can see the uncompressed original image on the left, libjpeg in the middle and Guetzli's result on the right; notice how Google's solution has less ringing artifacts in both examples.

According to Google, the psychovisual modeling of Guetzli "approximates color perception and visual masking in a more thorough and detailed way than what is achievable" in existing methods.

The JPEG encoder is open-source and available for you to download and implement in your own projects from this GitHub repository. Right, Guetzli compression. Credit: Google. And the popularity and usage of JPEGs have led Google to experiment with the said format instead of building a new one from scratch.

After a round of testing by Cornell University using the Butteraugli image similarity metric, Google says that 75% of users preferred the Guetzli-based image compression, for like-sized image files.

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