Have you ever check your website speed in Google lighthouse or PageSpeed Insights? If you are using image format like jpeg and png, Google lighthouse suggests you to use next-gen image formats to increase the loading speed of your website. So in this article, we are going to learn which are these next-gen image formats and how to use them.
What are next-gen images?
Next-gen images are those image formats which provides better compression and quality than JPEG and PNG image formats. This means if your images are compressed in a better way then they consume less data and are faster to download.
Major Next-gen image formats are JPEG 2000, JPEG XR, and WebP. Google is focusing on them because these formats offer the dual benefit of consuming less data while maintaining a high quality of images.
We can tell you one thing for sure that, these formats are the future of the image formats world. By implementing these Next-gen image formats now, you can make your blog or website future proof.
However, right now all the browsers are not supporting these formats. WebP is not yet supported in Safari or iOS Safari and jpeg 2000 is not yet supported by Firefox and Chrome.
WebP Next-gen image formats
The WebP format was initially announced in 2010 and was developed by Google, as a new open standard for lossy compressed true-color graphics on the web. It generates small size files as compared to PNG or JPEG formats.
- WebP is the most commonly used next-gen image format because It is developed by Google itself and it is supported by Google Chrome browser. Right now around 65% of users browse through Chrome.
- The Webp images are 1/4 percentage smaller in size than PNG images due to their better lossless and lossy compression. It also supports animation and alpha transparency.
- According to Google data Webp is 25-34% smaller in size than JPEG images. And is 26% smaller than PNG. But when I tested, I found sometimes size reduces up to 75%
- WebP support for animation allowed for converting older animated GIF to animated WebP.
- It’s Compression algorithm is based on VP8 video file format
- WebP next-gen image format is supported in all major browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and the Opera browser, and Safari will start supporting WebP in its next version 14. which is expected to release this year around September.
- According to caniuse, 80.50% of web browsers support WebP formats.
If you are a tech geek then you must already know that JPEG 2000 is a newer version of the JPEG format. JPEG2000 is also known as jp2. JPEG 2000 (JP2) was developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group committee in 2000. Their main objective was to supersede older JPEG format
- It uses wavelet technology, by which JPEG2000 offers an extremely high level of scalability and accessibility
- JPEG 2000 file contains a great amount of metadata information like creator, caption, title, aperture, shutter speed, ISO number, focal depth, DPI etc, which is quite useful for study lighting and exposure conditions of the image.
- This format can be encoded losslessly, it offers good compression performance.
- With higher compression, it still provides the best visual quality. Best use for pure wallpaper like images
- Right now only supported on Safari and iOS Safari. Best only for only users of Mac products.
JPEG XR last in the list of the three primary next-gen image formats that Google lighthouse asks us to consider,
- The primary objective of JPEG XR is the representation of continuous-tone still images such as photographic images.
- Designed especially to enhanced HDR images and JPEG XR can support bit-depths of 16 or greater, It supports better compression techniques than standard formats.
- It supports lossless compression, alpha channel, and 48-bit deep color.
- High performance and supports embedded system friendly compression
- One of the major drawback is, it is supported by only Firefox and Safari browsers
Why should I use next-gen images if they are supported by certain browser
Answer is simple, Firstly by the end of this year WebP image would start getting support from all web browsers including Safari. And the second major reason is, by using and investing time in the next-gen images you could get ahead of the curve that could bring changes to the future images formats.
And of course, by using next-gen images you would be one step ahead of your competitors
One more thing that you must consider, why big companies like Google are investing so much time and resources in the next-gen images? Because they believe that we are on the verge of next-gen imagery future.
How to use these next-gen image formats in WordPress
WordPress doesn’t currently support WebP images. But with the help of some tools like Optimole and WebP converter, you can use WebP format on your WordPress website. Apart from tools, you can use CDN modules.
You can use Jetpack. It has an image CDN module that works with WebP images.
- Also read: How to install WordPress locally on your system
- Also read: 7+ free screen recorders for pc and android
You can also enable WebP by combining both ShortPixel with Cache Enabler. You could also use EWWW Image Optimizer in place of ShortPixel. Both of these image optimization plugins let you convert JPEG and PNG images into WebP images.
After converting images you need to use the Cache Enabler plugin to serve those files to visitors. In cache enabler settings just create an additional cached version for WebP image supports.
Trick to use WebP images in WordPress through Blogspot
Blogger already supports Webp image file formats. So if you are a Blogspot blogger then you can easily use WebP images.
But with a simple trick you can use WebP images in WordPress.
- Create a blogger account if you do not have.
- Now Create a new post
- Upload WebP images
- Give Alt and title tags, do not publish the post
- Right-click on image and copy image address
- Paste copied image address in image uploading section
This method not only helps you to use WebP images but also very useful if you are on a limited storage hosting plan. Consider buying a cheap and unlimited hosting plan with free domain
Frequently asked questions
No, currently safari does not support Webp next-gen images.
According to caniuse, currently, 80.50% of browsers support the WebP image format. which include Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Safari and iOS Safari will start supporting WebP from version 14, which is expected to be released in September 2020
WebP offers around 25 – 35% smaller file sizes than JPEG yet retains the same image quality. WebP image format offers a better all-around package than JPEG.
Use various online tools like WebP convertor or ezgif. Or WordPress users can use Shortpixel plugin.