Google have recently announced that they’re promoting a new open source image format known as “WebP”.



Google’s main drive for pushing this new format, is because it uses their open source VP8 encoding technology to shrink images to use hypothetically 40% less space than a JPEG.

Over the last year we’ve seen several moves by Google to convince webmasters to speed up the web, however this has to be their most ambitious yet.    To gain traction, they’ll need support from all the latest browsers, and also from graphic design tools.


Advantages for Googlebot

As well as the known SEO advantages of speed on the web, there is another small feature of WebP which could be aimed at improving Google’s Search Algorithm.    The WebP format is designed to include meta-data about the image.   This could mean that images using this format are easier for the Googlebot to interpret – giving it a greater understanding of the scope of the page.   Instead of looking at HTML title tags, Googlebot could look inside the image to determine the context of the image.



Further Resources

Google WebP Blog Announcement

Google WebP Project