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Mozilla to improve web page load times through image trickery

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Ever tried loading websites full of selfies and filtered food images on a shabby connection? If your answer is yes, then you know it always leads to tears and frustration. Good thing Mozilla's got your back -- the non-profit behind Firefox just announced a project called mozjpeg, which aims to shrink JPEG file sizes for faster-loading web pages. To get the ball rolling, the group made a fork of an existing JPEG codec (libjpeg-turbo) and threw in a feature that crunches photos without affecting quality. That gave rise to mozjpeg software version 1.0, which successfully shrunk the file sizes of 1,500 JPEG photos by an average of 10 percent during a test run. It even worked on PNG images, though it was a lot less effective and only managed to shave 2 to 6 percent off their sizes.

Mozilla chose to improve JPEG compression instead of developing an alternative because the org believes the two-decade-old standard won't be going away anytime soon. Also, unlike newer choices (such as Google's WebP) that promise better quality at smaller sizes, JPEG's already compatible with most software and browsers. Sticking to JPEG means you won't have to endure years of poor compatibility, and you can now get through a lot more cat pics on your coffee break.

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