Google's new algorithm shrinks JPEG files by 35 percent

Google's new algorithm shrinks JPEG files by 35 percent

Tests carried out by Google revealed that users preferred the images Guetzli produced compared to other JPEG encoders. Guetzli promises more compression, without users or developers having to adopt a new file format.

The Internet is full of images, and we all want them to load as fast as possible and look as good as possible.

Google said Guetzli is similar to its Zopfli algorithm, which produces smaller PNG and gzip files.

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.

Google researchers have developed an algorithm dubbed Guetzli - which is apparently the Swiss-German word for "cookie" - which slashes file size while maintaining visual quality and compatibility with browsers by not altering the file format, unlike its previous effort at image compression, WebP. Google describes the slower compression process as a "worthy tradeoff". If Guetzli does work as well as Google claims, this could potentially be a solid libjpeg replacement for web developers, designers, or photographers. 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. Guetzli fiddles with two particular parts of JPEG compression - discrete cosine transform, which governs how details like object edges are recorded, and quantization, which governs which colors are preserved and which are sacrificed to cut file size. "However, while Guetzli creates smaller image file sizes, the tradeoff is that these search algorithms take significantly longer to create compressed images than now available methods". Presumably Google are considering optimisations and rational solutions to speed up Guetzli's compression speed performance. Because it is more complex than existing encoders, it takes "significantly" longer to complete compression. By employing a new search algorithm Google was able to address colour perception and visual masking better than the simpler colour transforms employed in current JPEG algorithms. The second image is encoded with libjpeg and the third image uses Guetzli.

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