Google have recently released Guetzli, an open source image encoder that enables JPEG's to be compressed by another 35% with virtually no negative impact on the visual appearance. Lower image file sizes means faster websites, so this is an exciting step in the right direction as far as our web design team are concerned.
Essentially Guetzli mimics the way the human eye perceives colour, by reducing small gradients into single blocks of colour and deleting the minor details it considers unnecessary.
Current algorithms actually take longer to create these compressed images, however the outcome is significantly better and file sizes far smaller than compression by other methods. The psycho-visually sympathetic compression system that guides Guetzli is called Butteraugli, essentially a human vision model.
Guetzli is not quite ready for general consumption, so the average website end user and photo editor are unlikely to want to use it just yet. It is available as an open source project for those who want to experiment with, and like all open source projects, to hopefully improve it before it is rolled out properly for the end user.
Long term goal = faster web. But does a faster web mean more adverts? Watch this space.
The name, in case you are wondering, means "Cookie" in Swiss German (not to be confused with website cookies of course). A google image search for guetzli, might leave you feeling rather hungry and ready to raid the biscuit tin.
For further reading on Guetzli, we recommend this article by designmodo