Google Introduces Faster, More Efficient JPEG Coding Library

Google is attacking slow-loading web pages with the new JPEG image encoder/decoder Jpegli, which offers a 35 percent compression ratio improvement using high quality compression settings, the Alphabet company says. The Jpegli JPEG coding library offers backward compatibility via “a fully interoperable encoder and decoder complying with the original JPEG standard and its most conventional 8-bit formalism, and API/ABI compatibility with libjpeg-turbo and MozJPEG,” Google says. The resulting images compressed using Jpegli are “more precise and psychovisually effective” as a result of computations that make images “look clearer” with “fewer observable artifacts.”

Accessible via GitHub, Jpegli “works by using new techniques to reduce noise and improve image quality,” writes InfoWorld, noting “new or improved features include adaptive quantization heuristics from the JPEG XL reference implementation, improved quantization matrix selection, calculation of intermediate results, and the possibility to use more advanced colorspace.”

Jpegli can be encoded with 10+ bits per component, Google explains in a blog post, adding that “traditional JPEG coding solutions offer only 8 bit per component dynamics causing visible banding artifacts in slow gradients.”

Jpegli’s 10+ bits coding “happens in the original 8-bit formalism and the resulting images are fully interoperable with 8-bit viewers.” The 10+ bit dynamics “are available as an API extension and application code changes are needed to benefit from it,” according to Google.

“From the JPEG 2000 to Apple’s HEIF, the world is packed with formats that wanted to kill the old JPEG… and never did,” ProVideo Coalition writes, providing a historical survey that notes how a variety of new formats “still not widely supported in web browsers” and “not generally used on the World Wide Web.”

“Nothing seems to be able to rock the king from its place, even Google’s WebP, introduced in 2023 as the ‘modern image format that provides superior lossless and lossy compression for images on the web’,” InfoWorld reports, leaving it an open-ended question as to whether Jpegli will succeed where the others failed.

Android Police finds at least one silver lining, writing that “Google’s new compression method could save you a lot of bandwith” and offering a reproduction of a Google technical chart that depicts “a higher ELO score indicates a better aggregate performance in the rater study,” with Jpegli’s 2.8 BPP receiving “a higher ELO rating than libjpeg-turbo.”

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