Firefox, one of the best browsers has endorsed Google’s WebP party by joining the giant tech company in an effort to speed up the web with better image format.
WebP was released by Google eight years ago and has since then been built into Google’s Chrome web browser and many of its online properties including Android phone software to put websites on a diet and reduce network data usage. Unfortunately, Google was unable to encourage its rival browser to embrace it.
Initially, Mozilla Firefox rejected WebP because it believed that it doesn’t offer enough improvement over widely used image formats, PNG and JPEG. Mozilla seriously evaluated WebP but could not accept it because the company wanted to squeeze more out of JPEG.
The story has changed now as Mozilla has had a change of heart, just like Microsoft did with its Edge browser.
Mozilla said, “We are moving forward with implementing support for WebP.” WebP will work in versions of Mozilla Firefox based on its Gecko browser engine, Firefox for personal computer and only Android, not iOS. Mozilla will be adding the support in early 2019.
To add image format to a browser is a big commitment and also comes with new security risks and technical challenges. It means, as Mozilla is embracing the WebP, it will be doing so for several years to come because removing it at a certain point will break sites relying on it.
Browser makers and web developers want to advance the technology, but can’t remove older aspects of the foundation the way Google can do with Android or Apple with iOS software.
There are exceptions. Before browser makers can delete undesirable interfaces, there has to be a careful measurement of usage.
Why did Firefox change its decision?
The non-profit company says, “We are seeing a number of developments coming together that might lead to an accelerated adoption of WebP.”