Google tries to kill the JPEG, makes Liquid Galaxies global

30 Sep 2010

Google is planning to bring out a new image format that could put an end to the trusty old JPEG. The new format known as WebP is capable of reducing the file size of an image by 40pc.

The new image format is derived from Google’s WebM video technology and is expected to be launched today.

Google is attempting to counter the reality that 65pc of the bytes on the web are from images.

Reducing dependency on such data-hungry images would no doubt help speed up the internet.

The new image format was tested on a wide range of images and in 90pc of cases, WebP offered the same quality albeit with 40pc reduced file sizes.

The new format is most likely to be supported on Google’s Chrome browser and it could take years before web developers and designers embrace the new format.

Liquid Galaxies

In related news, Google, which earlier today launched Street View in Ireland, has brought its Liquid Galaxies booth technology, which allows users to enjoy Google Earth in a 360-degree panorama, is to be made open source.

Liquid Galaxies, a system that surrounds users with eight 55-inch HD screens and works off Google Earth to make the user feel they are in a particular location in the world, until now sat in every Google office and the Tech Museum in San Jose, California.

“We decided to put the features that make Liquid Galaxy possible into the latest release of Google Earth, and open source all the supporting work, from our Ubuntu sysadmin scripts to the mechanical design of our custom frames,” said Jason Holt, a Google software engineer.

“Not everyone will have the know-how to network computers together and get view synchronisation working, but we tried to make it as easy as possible.

“Liquid Galaxies don’t have to be made from eight big LCD screens; the view sync features scale just fine from two to dozens of screens,” Holt said.

Liquid Galaxy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years