Mozilla Commences on a Mission to Speed Up the Web: Transforming JPEG

JPEG, the decades-old format for images, shows literally no signs of disappearing and dominates a large portion of the web. That’s why Mozilla announced an interesting project on Wednesday to make the format compatible for 21st century.

Mozilla Firefox announced a project called “mozjpeg” that intents to compress JPEGs by shaving 10 percent of images. Smaller JPEG file size means Web pages load faster and users can enjoy an improved performance. This way home or office surfers can enjoy huge speed and bandwidth savings, especially to those with restricted mobile data connections.

As you probably be aware of the fact that that images, in particular JPEGs, make up the huge majority of a web page’s complete size. Text, scripts, style-sheets are the other elements but they usually account for just a small portion of the total page size. The JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) file format gained popularity since 1992.

This particular compression algorithm is very popular with the web where the images play an important role apart from the text. But the fact is – it wasn’t originally designed and introduced for the wen, but due to its small file size and high quality it became so popular. In 1987 – GIFs were popular and in 1996 – PNGs were introduced as an alternative to GIFs. Despite of so many formats available for the web, JPEG’s popularity has never faded.

Version 1.0 of ‘mozjpeg’ – a fork of libjpeg-turbo with built-in Loren Merritt’s jpgcrush functionality. If users use mozjpeg to develop their images, they should be able to compress JPEG file size by a full 10% without affecting compatibility. A 10% reduction is huge especially when an average web page has near about 1MB of images on it and the figure is increasing by 2-3% every month.

This reduction could save hundreds of megabytes over a month to those who use their Smartphones for surfing websites. In order to make this concept a reality, image editors such as Gimp, Fireworks and Photoshop required to tool this new mozjpeg library. Implementing this new library will take time, but it’s much more effective and realistic than getting every web browser to support an alternate image standard like WebP.

We believe that JPEG will continue to gain popularity, but of course improvements are very much required at this stage of technology.

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