Google speeds WebP image format, brings animation support to Chrome

Google has built a new version of its WebP software into Chrome to let browsers display its image format 25 percent faster, the company said Friday.

The better performance new libwebp 0.4.0 is part of Google’s general effort to speed up the Web, and the new software also uses less memory and fixes an issue that had blocked Google from supporting animated WebP images. The updated WebP support is built into the version of Chrome that’s currently in beta.

Animated GIF images, popular on sites such as Tumblr and Imgur, are the last remaining holdout for the elderly Graphics Interchange Format, which otherwise has largely been replaced by PNG (Portable Network Graphics) and JPEG. Google argues WebP can replace all three image formats, but has yet to persuade other browser makers to support WebP despite some urging from sites such as Facebook and Netflix.

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