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Filename extension .webp[1]
Internet media type image/webp (unofficial)
Magic number WEBP
Developed by Google
Initial release 30 September 2010; 3 years ago (2010-09-30)[2]
Type of format Image format
Lossless/lossy compression algorithm
Contained by Resource Interchange File Format (RIFF)[3]
Open format? Yes[4]
Website developers.google.com/speed/webp

WebP (pronounced "weppy")[5] is an image format employing both lossy[6] and lossless compression. It is developed by Google, based on technology acquired with the purchase of On2 Technologies.[7] As a derivative of the video format VP8, it is a sister project to the multimedia container format WebM.[8] WebP-related software is released under a BSD license. [9]

The format was first announced in 2010 and is presented by the developer as a new open standard for lossily compressed true-color graphics on the web, producing smaller files of comparable image quality to the older JPEG scheme.[10] On October 3, 2011 Google announced WebP support for animation, ICC profile, XMP metadata and tiling (compositing very large images from max. 16384×16384 tiles).[11]

On November 18, 2011 Google began to experiment with lossless compression and support for transparency (alpha channel) in both lossless and lossy modes; support has been enabled by default in libwebp 0.2.0 (August 16, 2012).[12][13] According to Google's earlier measurements, a PNG to WebP conversion results in a 45% reduction in file size when starting with PNGs found on the web, and a 28% reduction in size compared to PNGs that are recompressed with pngcrush and PNGOUT.[14]

Google has proposed using WebP for animated images as an alternative to the popular GIF, citing the advantages of 24-bit color with transparency, combining frames with lossy and lossless compression in the same animation, and as well as support for seeking to specific frames.[15] They report a 64% reduction in file size for images converted from animated GIFs to lossy WebP, and a 19% reduction when converted to lossless WebP.


Simple WebP
Bytes Content
 0- 3 R I F F
 4- 7 length+12
 8-11 W E B P
12-15 V P 8
16-19 length (padded)
20- … VP8 key frame
pad ␀ (even length)

WebP's lossy compression algorithm is based on the intra-frame coding of the VP8 video format[16] and the classical Resource Interchange File Format (RIFF) as a container format.[2] As such it is a block-based transformation scheme with eight bits of color depth and a luminance-chrominance model with chroma subsampling by a ratio of 1:2 (YCbCr 4:2:0).[17] Without further content the mandatory RIFF container leads to an overhead of only twenty bytes and can hold additional metadata.[2] The side length of WebP images is limited to 16383 pixels (14 bits).[4]

WebP is based on block prediction. Each block is predicted on the values from three blocks above it and from one block left of it (block decoding is done in raster-scan order: left to right and top to bottom). There are four basic modes of block prediction: horizontal, vertical, DC (one color), and TrueMotion. Mispredicted data and non-predicted blocks are compressed in a 4×4 pixel sub-block with Discrete cosine transform and (rare) Walsh–Hadamard transform. Both transforms are done with fixed-point arithmetic to avoid rounding errors. The output is compressed with entropy encoding.[17] WebP also has explicit support for parallel decoding.[17]

The free reference implementation consists of a converter software in the form of a command-line program for Linux (webpconv) and a programming library for the decoding (the same as for WebM). The open source community quickly managed to port the converter to other platforms, such as Windows.[18]

WebP’s lossless compression uses advanced techniques such as dedicated entropy codes for different color channels, exploiting 2D locality of backward reference distances and a color cache of recently used colors. This complements basic techniques such as dictionary coding, Huffman coding and color indexing transform.[13]


Amongst web browsers, Google Chrome and Opera natively support WebP.[19][20] All WebM-compatible browsers may also display WebP via a JavaScript shim.[21][22] WebP can also be displayed in all major browsers using WebPJS JavaScript library (IE6+ support is achieved by using Flash).[23]

Amongst the graphics software, Picasa (from version 3.9),[24] PhotoLine,[25] Pixelmator,[26] ImageMagick,[27] Konvertor,[28] XnView,[29] IrfanView[30] and GDAL [31] all natively support WebP. Telegraphics has released a free plug-in that enables WebP support in Adobe Photoshop.[32] GIMP[33] and Paint.NET[34] support WebP via plugins. Google has also released a plug-in for Microsoft Windows that enables WebP support in Windows Photo Viewer, Microsoft Office 2010, FastPictureViewer,[35] and any other application that uses Windows Imaging Component.[36]

FFmpeg linked with libvpx can extract VP8 key frames from WebM with option -g 0; a script can then add the WebP RIFF header and the NUL pad byte for odd frame lengths.

Gmail and Picasa Web Albums (both Google web applications) support WebP. Support for WebP is also planned for Google App Engine. The Instant Previews feature of Google Search currently uses WebP internally to reduce disk space used by previews.[37] Android 4.0 supports encoding and decoding WebP images (via bitmap and Skia).[38] SDL_image supports the format since 1.2.11.

Below is the list of actual (Jan/2013) software implementations that support WebP:

Software Type Platform / description
Google Chrome Browser Win / OSX / Android / Linux
Opera Browser Win / OSX / Android / Linux / Mobile / Mini
Yandex Browser Win / OSX
Android Browser Browser Android > 4
Maxthon Browser Win
UC Browser Browser Symbian / Java / Android / BlackBerry
NetSurf Browser experimental - RISC OS - Amiga, Atari and other exotic
Apple Safari Browser OSX - using plugin
mod_pagespeed Apache module web server
ngx_pagespeed NGINX module web server
IISpeed IIS module web server
imageresizing.net IIS module web server
Google Picasa Website Photography
Google Image Search Website search engine
Google Plus Website Social network
Gmail Website Email service
Torbit Website Optimizer service
WordPress Website Blog (plugin script)
Magento Website open source E-Commerce solution
Drupal Website CMS
Joomla Website CMS
odnoklassniki.ru Website Social network
Facebook Website Social network (upload only - using Easy Photo Uploader or FastPictureViewer)
Memecenter.com Website Meme creator and sharing site.
Chromium OS (libwebp)
Windows OS (Google WebP WIC Codec[36])
Linux with GNOME OS (GNOME/GTK codec)
Apple OSX OS (QuickTime codec)
iOS OS libwebp
Android OS (ndk)
Windows Photo Viewer image viewer (Google WebP WIC Codec[36])
Microsoft Office 2010 office suite (Google WebP WIC Codec[36])
Java Platform (ImageIo)
.NET Platform (GitHub/CodePlex imagewebp wrapper)
JavaScript Platform (WEBPJS)
Flash Platform (swf webp-plugin)
Python Language (pywebp)
Ruby Language (ruby-webp)
PHP Language (php 5.5 gd extension)
Google App Engine Cloud / Web platform
Picozu Web Image editor
Acorn Image editor
Adobe Photoshop Image editor (plugin)
Corel Photopaint Image editor (plugin)
GIMP Image editor (plugin)
GraphicConverter Image editor
Paint.Net Image editor (plugin)
ImageMagick Image editor
PhotoLine Image editor
Pixelmator Image editor
RealWorld Paint Image editor
Graphviz Graph visualization
FileOptimizer Tool
PentaSuite PDF creation suite
FastPictureViewer Image viewer (Google WebP WIC Codec[36])
XnView Image viewer
IrfanView Image viewer
gThumb Image Viewer
Tautology Image Viewer Image Viewer
Konvertor Image converter
ReaConverter Image converter
Cocos2d-X Game library - C++
SDL Library library
Google libwebp C/C++ Library
javavp8decoder Java library
javavp8encoder Java library
SimpleCV Machine vision library
OpenCV Machine vision library
WebKit Framework
OpenMAX IL 1.2 Multimedia Language/API Khronos specification
Cloudinary Image SaaS

Ongoing Implementations:

Software Type Platform / description
Konqueror Browser (KDE)
Mozilla Firefox Browser (Win/Linux/OSX/Mobile)
Epiphany Browser (GNOME)
Linux KDE Desktop/app platform
MediaWiki Website (bug opened - a user script already implemented)


Like VP8 on which it is based, lossy WebP only supports 8-bit YUV 4:2:0 format,[39] which may cause color loss on images with thin contrast elements (such as in pixel art and computer graphics) and ghosting in anaglyph.


In September 2010, Jason Garrett-Glaser, a developer of the x264 encoder, wrote a very early critique of WebP.[16] Comparing different encodings (JPEG, x264, and WebP) of a reference image, he stated that the quality of the WebP-encoded result was the worst of the three, mostly because of blurriness on the image. His main remark was that "libvpx, a much more powerful encoder than ffmpeg's jpeg encoder, loses because it tries too hard to optimize for PSNR" (peak signal-to-noise ratio), arguing instead that "good psy[cho-visual] optimizations are more important than anything else for compression."[16]

Pascal Massimino, developer of the cwebp encoder, reports improvements to the WebP encoder with a number of defects resolved since the preview releases.[40] As WebP (and the WebM standard upon which it is based) is an open-source format[41] under active development, issues can be expected to both resolve and regress as they are addressed on an ad-hoc basis.[42]

See also[edit]

  • JPEG, an image format used for lossy compression on the Web, which WebP lossy is comparable with
  • PNG, an image format used for lossless compression on the Web, which WebP lossless is comparable with
  • GIF, used for animated images on the Web, which animated WebP images are intended to replace
  • MNG, another animated image format, related to PNG
  • JPEG 2000, an improvement intended to replace the older JPEG by the JPEG committee, introduced in 2000
  • JPEG XR, an alternative to JPEG 2000 supporting HDR and wide gamut color spaces, introduced in 2009


  1. ^ "WEBP file extension". DotWhat.net. Retrieved 2010-10-01. 
  2. ^ a b c Rabbat, Richard (2010-09-30). "WebP, a new image format for the Web". Chromium Blog. Google. Retrieved 2010-10-01. 
  3. ^ "RIFF Container". Google Code. Google. Retrieved 2010-10-01. 
  4. ^ a b "WebP FAQs". Google Code. Google. Retrieved 2010-10-06. 
  5. ^ Chapman, Stephen (2010-10-04). "Google's New WebP Image Standard Is All About SEO". ZDNet. Retrieved 2010-10-06. 
  6. ^ Calore, Michael (2010-10-01). "Meet WebP, Google's New Image Format". Wired. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  7. ^ Shankland, Stephen (2010-09-30). "Google offers JPEG alternative for faster Web". CNET News. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2010-10-01. 
  8. ^ Paul, Ryan (2010-10-02). "Google's new VP8-based image format could replace JPEG". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  9. ^ Rabbat, Richard (2010-10-03). "License/Patent clarification". Retrieved 2011-03-11. 
  10. ^ "Comparative Study of WebP, JPEG and JPEG 2000". Google Code. Google. Retrieved 2010-10-01. 
  11. ^ WebP-Mux (RIFF based container) framework
  12. ^ WebP v0.2.0 decoder and encoder source tree
  13. ^ a b Google Developers Blog: Lossless and Transparency Modes in WebP
  14. ^ Google Code blog: Lossless and transparency encoding in WebP
  15. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Google. 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2014-02-23. 
  16. ^ a b c Garrett-Glaser, Jason (2010-09-30). "H.264 and VP8 for still image coding: WebP?". Diary Of An x264 Developer. Retrieved 2010-10-01. 
  17. ^ a b c "VP8 Data Format and Decoding Guide" (PDF). Google. 2010-09-23. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  18. ^ "WebP for .NET". Codeplex. Microsoft. 2010-10-01. 
  19. ^ Metz, Cade (2010-09-30). "Google open sources JPEG assassin". The Register (San Francisco). Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  20. ^ Ødegaard, Ruarí (2011-03-15). "CSS gradients, WebP, and Declarative UI". Opera Desktop Team (Opera Software ASA). My Opera. Retrieved 2011-03-15. 
  21. ^ "Weppy Demo: WebP in modern browsers today". GitHub. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  22. ^ "Weppy: Javascript Shim for WebP on Chrome 6 and Firefox 4.0". Blog: this title probably isn't very original. antimatter15.com. 2010-10-03. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  23. ^ "WebPJS - Google's new image format WebP for not supported browsers (with alpha-channel)". Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  24. ^ Picasa and Picasa Web Albums Release Notes
  25. ^ "Release notes Version 18.00". pl32.com. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  26. ^ David, Chartier (2010-10-04). "Pixelmator to Add Support for Google's WebP Image Format". PC World. IDG. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  27. ^ "ImageMagick Image Formats". ImageMagick.org. ImageMagick Studio LLC. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  28. ^ "Konvertor: Images Formats (v 4.06 Build 11)". Logipole. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  29. ^ "XnView Software - All Supported Formats". xnview.com. Pierre-Emmanuel Gougelet. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  30. ^ History of IrfanView changes
  31. ^ "GDAL supported formats". gdal.org. GDAL - Geospatial Data Abstraction Library. Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  32. ^ "WebP Format". Free plugins for Photoshop & Illustrator. Telegraphics. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  33. ^ "GIMP Plugin Registry "WebP Import / Export" ". Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  34. ^ "WebP Filetype". Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  35. ^ FastPictureViewer Image Formats Compatibility
  36. ^ a b c d e "WebP Codec for Windows". WebP website. Google Code. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  37. ^ "The Chromium Blog: WebP in Chrome, Picasa, Gmail With a Slew of New Features and Improvements". Google. 2011-05-21. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  38. ^ Android 4.0 Platform Highlights
  39. ^ Google (2011-11). "VP8 Data Format and Decoding Guide". informational RFC 6386. IETF. Retrieved 2014-01-21. 
  40. ^ "WebP Discussion". WebM Google Groups. Retrieved 2014-01-21. 
  41. ^ "About WebM". WebM. Retrieved 2014-01-21. 
  42. ^ "WebM Codec Developers Forum". WebM Google Groups. Retrieved 2014-01-21. 

External links[edit]