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Is Google's WebP image format the right approach?

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From the 'Let's Re-invent the Web' files:

Google is launching a new web format for images called WebP this week that aims to provide faster images for the web.

While I personally believe that it's a great idea to have faster images, having a new image format might not be the right way to go either. There are hundreds of millions (billions?) of jpeg images on the web today that will likely never be converted to a different format. There are browsers - old and new - that will likely never support the WebP format.

Yes, it makes sense for new images and even for users of a Google-friendly environment (Chrome, Android).  But what about the rest of the web?

Developers and website owners should be taking advantage of tools like Google Page Speed and Yahoo Yslow to improve image compression on standard image format that exist today and are supported on all major computing platforms.

The other thing that can and should happen is that the operating systems themselves can build in new tools to handle existing image formats faster. One such example is the libjpeg turbo effort.

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