Giant photos are slowing the Web down. Google has a plan to make your pages load faster.
The search giant has developed a new kind of image format that promises to shrink the size of Web photos and graphic files down by about 35%. That's a big deal, considering that images are responsible for nearly two-thirds of the size of an average website -- a figure that grew by more than 30% last year, according to the HTTP Archive.
Those old, familiar image formats are the culprits. Next to Flash animations and videos, JPEGs are generally the largest files on Web pages. GIF and PNG files are pretty big too.
To boost load times for websites, Google (GOOGL, Tech30) developed a new image format, called WebP. At its I/O developers conference last month, Google announced that it has converted most of YouTube's thumbnail images to WebP, improving the site's load time by 10%. That may not sound like much, but Google says that alone has saved users a cumulative 140,000 hours each day.