Google Guetzli - a new open source JPEG encoder

Google Guetzli - a new open source JPEG encoder

Like Google's Zopfli algorithm for PNG and gzip files, Guetzil offers smaller file sizes without sacrificing compatibility with existing web browsers, image processing applications, or the JPEG standard. "It is our hope that webmasters and graphic designers will find Guetzli useful and apply it to their photographic content, making users' experience smoother on image-heavy websites in addition to reducing load times and bandwidth costs for mobile users", the researchers added.

Tests carried out by Google revealed that users preferred the images Guetzli produced compared to other JPEG encoders.

Uncompressed original image (left), libjpeg-encoded JPEG (middle), Guetzli-encoded JPEG (right).

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For more details on the nitty-gritty of how Guetzli actually accomplishes the improved encoding (it apparently involves "psychovisual models") check out the Google Research Blog and the published paper on Guetzli. Ultimately, that means these smaller images will look just as good to the average person. "Guetzli strikes a balance between minimal loss and file size by employing a search algorithm that tries to overcome the difference between the psycho-visual modelling of JPEG's format, and Guetzli's psycho visual model, which approximates colour perception and visual masking in a more thorough and detailed way than what is achievable by simpler colour transforms and the discrete cosine transform". "We think this makes the slower compression a worthy tradeoff". If that's not something you care about, you can head over to the Github destination instead and check out all the files, instructions on installing the tool, and the code necessary for using it.

Smaller file sizes might seem an arcane technology concern, but they're crucial to fast-loading websites.

JPEG files are one of the most commonly used and popular image file formats in the world. Other factors can also be involved, such as the speed of the server the site is hosted on, the code that's used to make and design the page and the file sizes for any images that are used in the site.

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As you can see, the new encoder fares better than libjpeg, although, as we said above, it needs more time to produce results.

The downside to this methodology is that compression takes significantly longer than now available methods.

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