French programmer Fabrice Bellard has come up with a graphic format that may replace JPEG. The format is called BPG (Better Portable Graphcics) and boasts obvious advantages in image quality and size, especially noticeable at a high compression ratio.
BPG compressed photos look significantly better at the same size as JPEG. In addition, the new format has transparency support that the legacy JPEG lacks. Most browsers currently do not support the newly developed format, but Bellard wrote a 55K script that can be embedded into a website to fully support BPG.
Will BPG replace the usual JPEG? Perhaps, but it won't be easy. After all, the "good old" JPEG does its job very well. Designers have learned to work with it, all browsers and most graphics programs support it. The speed of the modern Internet has also increased - it has become very easy and fast to download any picture.
Adding to the complexity is the fact that BPG is built using HEVC video compression technology. The technology is patented by MPEG LA, which also owns the rights to H.264. This means that software developers using the new format will have to make royalties to MPEG LA. This makes BPG a rather unattractive option for popular open source browsers like Firefox.
BPG has another problem in the form of a serious competitor. Such as Google, which is starting to promote its own image compression format WebP. The Google format, like BPG, compresses much better than JPEG and supports transparency. And most importantly, WebP is distributed under a free license and is already supported by the Chrome and Opera browsers.
Still, it's great to see how smart people manage to come up with smart things, even if the patent and commercial difficulties still push BPG into the background.