Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

Google Has a New Algorithm That Shrinks JPEGs by 35%

Google's new algorithm shrinks JPEG files by 35 percent Google open-sources JPEG encoder that reduces file sizes by 35%
Heather Davidson | 18 March, 2017, 01:37

Guetzli manages to significantly reduce file size without breaking compatibility with the JPEG standard, web browsers, and image processing applications.

"Butteraugli takes into account. properties of vision that most JPEG encoders do not make use of", Google researchers said in a Guetzli research paper (PDF). With smaller JPEG files, you'll not only be able to store more pictures (and most importantly: selfies) on your phone and computer, but websites that use Guetzli-encoded JPEGs would also (at least, in theory) load faster. Additionally, the company cites a Google Research paper that claims that users found the Guetzli images to be of higher quality than similar and even larger JPEG files created with other methods.

Although there are several different ways to adjust the size and quality of a JPEG, Google's Guetzli (German for "cookie") is all about the "quantization stage of compression".

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Images pushed through the Guetzli encoder are still available in a regular JPEG format, making them compatible with just about every application and browser now on the market.

Left: original, center: libjpeg, right: Guetzli. Comparing it to one of the popular JPEG encoders - libjpeg, Google Research says that "75 percent of ratings are in favour of Guetzli". More details at the link below. Its psychovisual model "approximates color perception and visual masking in a more thorough and detailed way than what is achievable by simpler color transforms and the discrete cosine transform", and the search algorithm that Guetzli uses to achieve this is slower than alternatives like libjpeg. The tech giant also hopes that this new algorithm will inspire further image and video compression research for even faster load times on the Internet in the future. Google describes the slower compression process as a "worthy tradeoff". In other words, given two images of identical size, the Google-compressed JPEG looks nicer. Another upside is that the transition to using Guetzli will happen quietly in the background without any disruption to that next image search you perform looking for cute cats. Guetzli may indeed produce better perceived quality at a given file size, but note for example how some green areas are washed out in the eye comparison image above.

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