Software

How Google's open source .jpeg encoder can help your website load faster

Google recently announced Guetzli, an algorithm for image encoding that promises up to 35% smaller .jpeg files. This could help businesses enable a better experience for end users.

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Image: iStockphoto/Vladimir_Timofeev

A new open source image encoder from Google, announced last Thursday, could help business websites load faster and create a more seamless experience for users. Announced via a blog post, the new algorithm is called Guetzli, and promises .jpeg files up to 35% smaller than other methods, the post said.

According to the post, Guetzli means "cookie" in Swiss German. By using the encoder, businesses and professionals can shrink the file size of their images and graphics down, while maintaining quality, and browser and application compatibility, the post said.

Google has a similar algorithm called Zopfli that works to shrink down .png and .gzip files as well. Both options are meant to be more scalable than alternatives like RNN-based image compression, RAISR, and WebP, the post said.

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Typically, .jpeg compression happens in three distinct stages. Guetzli works during what is known as the quantization stage, in which parts of the visual quality are reduced to make the file smaller. Guetzli tries to minimize the quality loss while still making the cuts necessary to improve the file size, the post said.

"However, while Guetzli creates smaller image file sizes, the tradeoff is that these search algorithms take significantly longer to create compressed images than currently available methods," the post said.

Although, Google also noted in its post that the slower compression times seem to be worth it, as human raters preferred the images produced by Guetzli as opposed to libjpeg images.

"It is our hope that webmasters and graphic designers will find Guetzli useful and apply it to their photographic content, making users' experience smoother on image-heavy websites in addition to reducing load times and bandwidth costs for mobile users," the post said. "Last, we hope that the new explicitly psychovisual approach in Guetzli will inspire further image and video compression research."

If successfully implemented, Guetzli could be a way for organizations, especially SMBs, to reduce their overall website load time, which could lead to a higher click-through rate. Most businesses are competing heavily online, and a fast-loading page could be the differentiator that keeps certain customers coming back.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Google's Guetzli is an open source image encoder that promises to reduce .jpeg files sizes by up to 35%.
  2. Guetzli works during the quantization stage to shrink file size without compromising a lot of quality.
  3. Guetzli could help businesses, especially SMBs, remain more competitive online where a fast loading page could be a key differentiator.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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