Why get rid of the JPEG? It’s become such a popular format that everyone knows and understands. I can’t think of any reason why Google would think this was a good idea except for maybe their goal of “world domination”. Not to be a skeptic or throw rocks at Google, but there are a few reasons why I think this would not succeed:
1. The JPEGs in comparison tests did not specify if the JPEGs were optimized.
This is quite important to make a justifiable case that WebP is better than JPEGs. There are many instances where surveys and comparisons are done unfairly or are unbalanced. In these cases my best guess would be just as plausible as the survey/comparsion.
2. Backwards compatability with technology?
Cameras, picture frames, computer applications…so many electronics and software that recognize JPEGs and not WebP. Those with old computers or applications will be unable to see these images locally on their computer. Now there’s probably going to be someone out there that will want to create a converter or a viewing program or something other, but I think the last thing everyone needs is another application to view images.
3. Support for it on the web?
On the web, the same thing I would think applies. Old browsers…how will they handle the new format? Google always seems to want to leave people behind if they don’t want to keep up with the times. The fact is, there are only so many followers out there that can keep up at the speed that technology changes. The rest take things step by step and skip generations. I make it a rule for myself to never buy first generation equipment because of the high chance of errors and room for improvement. Just as an example, I have the HTC Touch Pro 2 Smartphone…not the original and it’s proven to be much better!
4. Impression on the photography community.
All point and shoot cameras are set to JPEGs by default. I highly doubt that they will make any quick moves to this new format. Maybe in time they will. The decision by the photography community I think will have a high impact on the success of the WebP format – after all, the majority of photos out there are ALL JPEGs – who would want to take the time to convert their entire stock to a new format?
If you’d like to read more on this, have a look at the following links. They provide more insight into the comparison surveys and the WebP format.