Google open-sources JPEG encoder that reduces file sizes by 35%

Google open-sources JPEG encoder that reduces file sizes by 35%

Google has announced a new open source JPEG encoder called Guetzli that creates images with file sizes 35 percent smaller than now available methods.

This algorithm is basically an encoder which creates JPEG files of size 35% smaller than other image file creation methods. In fact, in experiments comparing compressed images, human raters preferred the Guetzli-produced images over those created by libjpeg, even when the latter's images were a larger file size. Called Guetzli, which is apparently Swiss German for cookie, the new JPEG encoder does its magic during the so-called quantization stage of image compression, which is when the encoder tries to strike a balance between removing detail to keep size down, without obliterating the source image.

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.

The higher level of compression was obtained by targeting the quantization stage of the image compression process, which, itself, focuses on image quality. Smaller files are achieved by blurring together pixels that are similar, but only just enough to not distort the overall image's structure.

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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. It's probably an image file, and a lot of image files can take a toll on your web page load times.

JPEG is a lossy compression method for images, which allows a tradeoff to occur between file size and the final quality of the images.

JPEG files are one of the most commonly used and popular image file formats in the world. Another upside is that the transition to using Guetzli will happen quietly in the background without any disruption to that next image search you perform looking for cute cats. However, other than improved quality, the other result of using this encoder is that files take less time to open. Other factors can also be involved, such as the speed of the server the site is hosted on, the code that's used to make and design the page and the file sizes for any images that are used in the site. Because it is more complex than existing encoders, it takes "significantly" longer to complete compression.

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