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Google Has a New Algorithm That Shrinks JPEGs by 35%

Google Has a New Algorithm That Shrinks JPEGs by 35%

Guetzli [guɛtsli] - cookie in Swiss German - is a JPEG encoder for digital images and web graphics that can enable faster online experiences by producing smaller JPEG files while still maintaining compatibility with existing browsers, image processing applications and the JPEG standard.

Check out these comparisons Google offered up to show Guetzli compared to an uncompressed image or an image compressed using the common libjpeg encoder.

This potentially would allow webmasters for example to create much more compact websites that take less time (and data) to load - a potential boon to smartphone users surfing the web on mobile devices. "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". Their Guetzli algorithm targets the quantization stage to reduce the size of image files by swapping it out for loss in visual quality.

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Now Google thinks it's found a better way to compress JPEG.

The JPEG encoder is open-source and available for you to download and implement in your own projects from this GitHub repository.

Google isn't the only one trying this approach. This is a significant improvement over current JPEG compression techniques. Google's tests showed that Guetzli outdoes Mozilla's tool by 29 to 45 percent. The original image is on the left. That may seem like a deal-breaker but because of how well it performs in the quality department, Google feels the slower compression time is a worthy trade-off.

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Slower compression is likely to be an insignificant factor for desktop design environments, but has far bigger usage and resource ramifications for the millions of process threads which run every day over the internet, converting selfies, food shots and other user-generated content into optimised formats for viewing.

Another problem: speed of compressing images. The second image is encoded with libjpeg and the third image uses Guetzli. It uses an advanced psychovisual model that attempts to strike a balance between small file sizes and image fidelity by honing in on the kind of details that the human eye is drawn to, according to a post published to the Google Research Blog.

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