Firefox gets support for Google's WebP image format, leaving Apple Safari as main holdout

in General Discussion
Mozilla this week announced that it will support Google's compressed WebP image format in Firefox, leaving Apple's Safari as the one flagship browser without any compatibility.

Mozilla Firefox

An exception to Firefox's newfound support is the iOS version, CNET noted. Because of Apple policies, third-party iOS browsers -- even Google Chrome -- must use the same underlying engine as Safari.

Mozilla's adoption follows recent news from Microsoft that it will support WebP in Edge, the browser built into Windows 10.

WebP is an offshoot of Google's older VP8 video format. It was announced in 2010 by Google as a new open standard for web-published graphics, offering smaller file sizes for equivalent quality to JPEG. Animation and metadata support was added in 2011, with transparency added in 2012.

Google claims that PNG to WebP conversions result in a 28 percent to 45 percent reduction in file size, depending on the original PNG.

Apple is typically resistant to supporting formats founded by rivals, sometimes to the detriment of the end experience. The Apple TV 4K can't play YouTube videos in 4K resolution, for example, because tvOS is missing Google's VP9 codec.

In 2016, test versions of iOS 10 and macOS Sierra briefly supported WebP, but Apple later backtracked for reasons known only to itself -- but are likely related to the company's adoption of HEIF as a standard.

Presently, on the Mac, Pixelmator supports the file format without extension. Support in Photoshop can be added with a third-party extension.


  • Reply 1 of 4
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,341member
    OK by me.  Love my Macs - never warmed up to Safari's conventions, so just use it when I have to, e.g., in years past to watch Keynote speeches.....  ....Apple reminds me of the old Sony in a number of ways.  I think of Safari like Atracs, Memory Sticks, BetaMax

    And being multi-platform I use DropBox, GooglePhotos, Evernote and Word.  There is some Mac-specific software I rely on, but it's generally not Apple's. Copy 'em paste, Carbon Copy Cloner. 

    Two Apple programs I do use because I don't have to share their files:  Keynote ("It just works") and Numbers ( 'cos I've never been able to grok the still-DOSsy feel of Excel and Numbers doesn't confuse me for my limited SS needs). 

    Meanwhile I've been a keyboard-I-can-live-with away from a new MB Pro for going on three years - but my MBA has held up and maybe the machine rumored for next month will be good enough maxxed out.  My image-editing ambitions have lowered recently, so I'm really praying they don't hand us a thin (THIN!) but useless and clacky KB and only one port.  Either is a no-sale and I might have to start thinking the unthinkable....

    ...but I guess Apple's engineers and bean counters know whether they don't care if they lose people like me, so it could be an amicable divorce if it comes to that...

    ...meanwhile, I can temporize for awhile my maxxed 2013 MBA is working as well as new (seriously) since I got a new KB - and I never upgraded past Yosemite 'cos nothing compelling there for me.  I still dutifully watch the annual confabs, but outside of the latest dark theme in Mojave I don't even remember what it is I'm supposed to be missing.

    It's true. Computing's matured (at least at this level) and the incremental improvements are partly to largely sales spurs, because the machines are durable too.

    edited October 6
  • Reply 2 of 4
    macguimacgui Posts: 886member
    I agree with aligning Safari with Betamax. Although Betamax was eventually abandoned, it was the superior performing format in all but playing time.

    Firefox is a mule to check one of the rare sites that Safari won't handle, to see if it's the site of Safari. It's all I use it for. So far, I've never needed a site that Safari couldn't handle.

    Using Ff, I've found its UI to be less intuitive and its fit and finish is below that of Safari. Other than checking site compatibility, if I ever need to see a YT 4K video in 4K, Ff will get some additional use.
  • Reply 3 of 4
    Firefox is a dog, Chrome is a steaming pile or crud, and Edge I actually do quite like.

    Safari is my go to browser for everything and I have found only a handful of pages that I’ve needed Chrome for but that basically just prompted me to ditch that site because it wasn’t worth my time and effort anyway so...

    I don’t see the reason behind Safari hate. It’s always been the most stable browser I’ve used (except on Windows but that’s because... well... Windows.

    I laugh at people who think that Chromenis such a good browser. Have yet to see anything that proves that from my experience.
  • Reply 4 of 4
    croprcropr Posts: 833member
    As a developer I find it a pity that Apple is not (yet?) currently supporting WebP.  No matter where WebP is coming from, it makes the web faster.

    Let's hope that WebP follows the path of Service Workers, a feature that also came from Google and eventually was supported by Safari
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