Mozilla Releases Enhanced JPEG Encoder


    Mozilla has released a new version of the mozjpeg JPEG encoder . The new version is already being tested on, and Facebook donated Mozilla $ 60,000 to continue working on this project, TechCrunch writes .

    Mozilla promises that version 2.0 of its encoder reduces the size of JPEG files by an average of 5%. Depending on the image, the percentage can be significantly higher (up to 15%) or slightly lower. Unlike the first version, the effect of which was visible only on progressive JPEGs, the new version also improves images saved in the basic (baseline) format.

    When it comes to image formats on the Internet, PNG and JPEG are pretty much the only two options. Over the years, companies such as Microsoft and Google have developed their own formats, but not one of them has taken root. Google uses its WebP format on its own sites for Chrome users, but it is not widely used outside of Mountain View.

    According to Mozilla CTO Andreas Gal, the organization found that WebP, Microsoft JPEG XR and similar royalty-free formats do not offer enough improvements over JPEG to justify the costs and efforts of promoting a new format on the Internet. Therefore, Mozilla decided to focus on improving the encoder format, which is already the most popular on the Internet.

    For Facebook - and other sites with many images - smaller file sizes mean that they can make their sites faster and save a few dollars on their Internet bill, so it’s not surprising that the company is interested in this project. “Facebook supports Mozilla’s efforts to develop a JPEG encoder that can create smaller JPEG images without compromising the visual quality of photos,” said Stacy Kerkela, Facebook’s development manager.

    As Mozilla promised when she releasedthe first version of mozjpeg earlier this year, the new version allows the use of trellis quantization - a compression algorithm traditionally used in video encoders. Other enhancements include support for JPEG input, which makes it easier to transcode existing images, and a number of smaller changes that improve compatibility with existing JPEG decoders.

    Andreas Gal acknowledges that formats such as WebP offer a number of features that are not available in JPEG (such as animations), but this is not enough for Mozilla to support them. However, he believes that some of the new formats will be able to offer significant improvements. The problem with many of them is that they are saddled with patents, which may take some time for Mozilla to support them. Instead, the format with the greatest potential for inclusion in Firefox, according to Gal, is Daala, a new video compression technology that Mozilla is working in partnership with the Xiph.Org foundation.

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