Google states on the official WebP page on the company's Developers website that "WebP lossless images are 26% smaller in size compared to PNGs", and that "WebP lossy images are 25-34% smaller than comparable JPEG images".
Mozilla revealed plans in 2016 to add WebP support to the organization's Firefox web browser but nothing came out of it in the two years that followed. Microsoft introduced support for WebP in Microsoft Edge recently.
Chrome and Chromium-based browsers such as Opera or Vivaldi support the image format already.
Web servers that support WebP check whether the browser is capable of displaying the format. If that is the case, WebP images are provided and if that is not the case, fallback image formats, e.g. PNG or JPG are provided instead.
Firefox users can test this on Google Play where Chrome gets WebP images currently while current versions of Firefox traditional image formats.
Mozilla plans to enable support for WebP in Firefox 65. The version is currently available on the Nightly channel, the cutting edge development channel.
Nightly users may enable WebP support in the browser already but it requires that they modify two preferences on about:config to do so.
Here is how you can add WebP support right now in Firefox 65:
You can test the support on Google's WebP Gallery on the Developer website. You should get WebP images instead of no image or fallback images on the page.
Firefox informs sites that it supports the WebP image format when connections are established and sites will use the format and not traditional formats because of that.
Why did Mozilla add support now? One answer is that Microsoft added support for the format in the company's Microsoft Edge browser. While WebP is not supported by Safari or Internet Explorer, not supporting the format might put Mozilla at a disadvantage especially when web companies decide to ignore fallback options.
Firefox 65 will support the WebP format so that Google's sites and others that use the format will deliver WebP images to Firefox users just as they do to Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, or Microsoft Edge users.
Whether that will give WebP the boost it requires to establish itself as the major image format on the Internet remains to be seen.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.