Mozilla and Facebook team up to make the JPEG leaner, meaner

JPEG image icons
More files for your Facebook photo albums

Two internet titans are joining forces to bring renewed life to those crusty old JPEG files by cutting them down to size.

Mozilla announced that the decades-old JPEG file format is about to get a little more efficient when it comes to bandwidth consumption, thanks to the combined resources of the creators of Firefox and social networking giant Facebook.

The new partnership builds upon the second generation of Mozilla's mozjpeg encoder, a home-brewed solution capable of shaving an average of 5% off the size of JPEG files without a noticeable loss in quality. In many cases, Mozilla claims, mozjpeg 2.0 can reduce file sizes even further.

This is all done without having to throw the baby out with the bath water by adopting an entirely new image format specifically designed for the web.

Setback for WebP

Facebook has good reason to embrace such technology; the social network processes millions of photos each and every day, and even a seemingly modest 5% could reap big rewards when it comes to bandwidth.

"We look forward to seeing the potential benefits mozjpeg 2.0 might bring in optimizing images and creating an improved experience for people to share and connect on Facebook," said Stacy Kerkela, the social network's software engineering manager.

The alliance with Facebook is likely to be viewed as another setback for Microsoft's JPEG XR and WebP, a Google-backed image format supported by Opera. Mozilla criticized them last year for failing to offer any significant improvements over JPEG, a standard that dates back to 1986.

Mozilla is actively recruiting other as-yet unnamed websites to adopt mozjpeg 2.0, while simultaneously donating a $60,000 (about £34,998, AU$64,050) contribution to further develop the technology, with an eye toward mozjpeg 3.0.

  • Find out the latest news on Microsoft's upcoming Windows 9!