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Google+ App For Android Quietly Switched To WebP Image Format A Month And A Half Ago, Saves 50% Bandwidth

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About a month and a half ago, Google switched to its own WebP image format in its Google+ Android app, the company revealed at its I/O developer conference in San Francisco today. This, Stephen Konig, a Google product manager who focuses on WebP and Chrome Remote desktop, and Make the Web Fast team member and Chrome developer advocate Ilya Grigorik said in today’s presentation, is saving Google – and its users – about 50% in bandwidth.

Google+ App For Android Quietly Switched To WebP Image Format A Month And A Half Ago, Saves 50% Bandwidth

Google+ is obviously a very image-heavy service and given that Android can display WebP natively since the introduction of version 4.0, this was a pretty logical move for the team. The team, however, also said that the plan is to introduce WebP to virtually every other Google product, too – and possibly within the next year. The slide the team showed during the session including the logos of YouTube, Google Image Search and virtually every other Google product (and sadly I didn’t catch it in time).

The company made this switch very quietly, just like it did with the Chrome Web Store earlier this year. In the Store, the team reiterated today, using WebP resulted in image sizes that were about 30% smaller than using PNGs.

The current problem for WebP – which can save developers a good amount of bandwidth thanks to its improved compression ratio – is that it’s only natively supported in Android, Chrome and Opera. For other platforms, developers still have to service traditional JPEG or PNG images or use other tricks to display WebP. The WebP team, however, also said that it believes Firefox will support it within the next year, too, and seems pretty optimistic about the format’s future (but then, of course, they would say that…).