WebP is an image format developed by Google in 2010 with the aim of providing a better compression algorithm for web images, resulting in smaller file sizes and faster page load times. The format uses both lossy and lossless compression techniques to achieve this.
Compared to other popular image formats such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF, WebP files are generally smaller while maintaining the same level of quality. WebP uses advanced compression algorithms such as predictive coding and spatially-adaptive color quantization.
WebP supports lossy and lossless compression, meaning users can choose between the two depending on their requirements. Lossy compression can achieve higher compression levels and smaller file sizes but at the cost of some image quality. In contrast, lossless compression maintains the original image quality with less compression.
One of the major advantages of WebP is its compatibility with modern web technologies such as HTTP/2 and CDNs, which can help significantly reduce page load times. WebP is also supported by major web browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, making it a viable alternative to other image formats.
Another advantage of WebP is its support for animations, making it a potential replacement for the aging GIF format. WebP animations can achieve smaller file sizes and higher quality than GIF, resulting in smoother and more efficient animations.
I’ve recently started using WebP as my default image format on this website. At the time of this writing, roughly 96.76% of global browser usage either supports (94.91%) or partially supports (1.85%) the WebP format.