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February 8, 2013

Convert Images Hosted by Google to WebP

WebP is one of the best thing that happened after Google acquired On2 in 2010. While WebM doesn't have a strong adoption outside YouTube and Firefox started to support H.264 after a few years of fight, WebP is an image format that's already used by many sites and applications. It can replace both JPEG and PNG and you can use it to create images that are compressed more efficiently (by about 35%) and look better. "By converting PNGs and JPEGs to WebP, the Chrome Web Store was able to reduce image sizes by about 30% on average," informs Google.

The format is supported by Chrome, Opera, Android 4.0+ and there are many tools that help you convert images to WebP and view them. It's also interesting to find that all the images hosted by Google services like Picasa Web, Blogger and Google+ can be converted to WebP using a simple URL adjustment.

Here's an example of JPEG photo hosted by Google+: [57 KB]

To convert the photo to WebP, just replace "/s633/" with "/s633-rw/" ("/sNUMBER/" with "/sNUMBER-rw/") : [33 KB]

I'll also include the URL of a PNG screenshot from the previous post: [21 KB]

Here's the WebP photo: [14.5 KB]


  1. can it be useful in terms of SEO?

    1. With smaller images your site will be better in terms of loading speed, and load time it's allways been very important for SEO. So I'd bet WebP format would help in SEO

  2. But these converted images in WebP format cannot yet be displayed in Firefox -- this is still a deal breaker.

    1. Yeah, Firefox this time said "you will not fool us again" and said that they will not support WebP that will be again Google-only format.

    2. As a site owner, you can install mod_pagespeed, ngx_pagespeed, or use Google's PageSpeed Service to serve webp images to Chrome, Opera, and Android, while serving jpegs to IE, Firefox, and other browsers.

      PageSpeed automatically transcodes the jpegs to webp and caches the result.

      Also see iispeed, for IIS users, and Edgecast's new Edge Optimize.