Google’s Guetzli Open Source JPEG Encoder Compresses Images by 35 Percent

Mar 17, 2017

Google has come up with a new algorithm that aims at reducing the JPEG file size by 35%. It is an open-sourced algorithm can also be used in an alternative way, that is, you can also use it for increasing the image quality while keeping the same file size. This is not the first time when Google has done something new regarding image compression, however, among all of its other algorithms, this one is compatible with most of the browser, apps, and JPEG standards.

Guetzli JPEG Encoder

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The new algorithm is named as Guetzli – cookie in Swiss German. Google Research’s Zurich office led the new project, and that’s why the name is Guetzli. Even though there are other third-party ways to compress an image, but Guetzli has its way to get the data in order first and then follow up the compression office. Other methods mostly get the job done by leaving out minor details, while Guetzli compresses the image without compromising on the quality.

In a blog post, Google Research said:

“Guetzli specifically targets the quantization stage in which the more visual quality loss is introduced, the smaller the resulting file. Guetzli strikes a balance between minimal loss and file size by employing a search algorithm that tries to overcome the difference between the psycho-visual modelling of JPEG’s format, and Guetzli’s psycho visual model, which approximates colour perception and visual masking in a more thorough and detailed way than what is achievable by simpler colour transforms and the discrete cosine transform.”

Guetzli JPEG Encoder

Although Guetzli primarily aims at compressing the file size, Google also points out that it can also be used to increase the quality of the image without compromising on the size. Comparing it to one of the popular JPEG encoders – libjpeg, Google Research says that “75 percent of ratings are in favour of Guetzli. This implies the Butteraugli psychovisual image similarity metric which guides Guetzli is reasonably close to human perception at high-quality levels.”

You can download Guetzli from Github, which could be put up for trial by photographers and graphic designers. Also, it is worth noting that Guetzli takes more time for image compression in comparison to libjpeg. It would be interesting to see if Guetzli scores a wider acceptance.