Our favorite microblogging site is evolving and, from now on, is changing the way it processes JPEG image files that are uploaded to the platform in order to better preserve their quality.
Twitter engineer Nolan O'Brien has announced – via a tweet, of course – that from now on, JPEG encoding will be preserved in images that have been uploaded via the web interface.
Before this, JPEGs were transcoded to 85% JFIF quality if the file was of higher quality, thus degrading them, something that has annoyed many creative users.
Starting today, Twitter will preserve JPEGs as they are encoded for upload on Twitter for Web. (Caveat, cannot have EXIF orientation)For example: the attached photo is actually a guetzli encoded JPEG at 97% quality with no chroma subsampling.https://t.co/1u37vTopkY pic.twitter.com/Eyq67nfM0EDecember 11, 2019
However, there are some caveats still: previews and thumbnails (aka what you see on your Twitter feed) will still be transcoded and compressed. It's only when you click through to the full-size image that you will be able to tell the difference.
That means bitmap encoding (or the color information stored as binary numbers) will be preserved as is but, as before, EXIF data (information about camera settings, geolocation and date of image) will continue to be removed from uncompressed JPEG files.
According to O'Brien, images that are over 5MB in size, or have one dimension over 4096 pixels, will be transcoded and may lose image quality. Even images that were set to rotate to change orientation will also be transcoded.
It might seem like just a small, minor change, but going by the example in O'Brien's tweet above, this tiny improvement will make a huge difference to photography enthusiasts and professionals who share their work over Twitter.