Google has become obsessed with the speed of the Web over the past few years, and while it has already turned its attention to many things that do slow down the Internet somewhat, now it feels ready to take on those pesky things called images.

According to a post from Google, images take up 65 percent of the time it takes for a page to load.  Naturally this sounds like something they need to focus on if they are truly committed to speeding up the rate at which sites load.  To that end the company has launched a new photo format called WebP that could see image sizes reduce by as much as an average of 65 percent with no discernible loss in quality to the average viewer.

Before you get too excited, this format is not yet supported by browsers, and Google is just starting to roll it out to developers.  There is, of course, also the question of how older image editors would deal with the new format, but there will probably be codec patches coming down the road for them.  In the meantime, Google has set up a gallery where you can see comparison shots between original images and how they appear after being put into the WebP format.  Here is one example.

webp compare

At first glance, I really can’t tell a bit of difference between them, and it says that the WebP formatted image is 66.35 percent smaller than the original.  If this truly works out, it could be a heck of a relief on servers, storage and bandwidth.

I am sure some photography experts will find faults with this, and I say more power to them.  However, if this is just for your general blog post that throws a quick image up with it, this looks like a winning solution to me.

What say you?  Do you think WebP will make the Web a faster place?