WebP: What is it? How do I work with it on Linux?

linux imaging

WebP image format has been promoted by Google since 2010, in particular through the Chromium project. Initially, WebP was promoted as an alternative to JPEG because the quality is the same, but the images weigh less. Gradually, the format developed and acquired features such as support for transparency, animation, and the ability to compress images without losing the quality.

On average, the weight of images is reduced by around 30%, which allows webmasters to place more images on their platforms. Thus, there are a plethora of websites today, including YouTube, the Google Play Store, and the Facebook Android add-on, that use this image format.

Since 2013, WebP was used in the Play Store for app screenshots, previews, and app logos, reducing the size of images by 35% without compromising quality. WebP is supported by most well-known browsers, making it a one-stop solution for working with images on the web.

Google is also using WebP images to display YouTube video previews. Although this does not change the YouTube logo meaning, this modern format reduces page load time by 10%. If it seems to you that these changes are insignificant, then it is worth remembering the amount of traffic processed by Youtube and Google Play services in just one day. Thanks to the use of WebP, a huge data flow is reduced by tens of transferred terabytes, which is an excellent way to save both user time and available resources.

Advantages of WebP

Reducing the size positively affects four aspects of the internet experience at once:

  1. Websites with compressed WebP images are faster. It takes less time to process small files. Even if the article contains about a hundred images, compression will save you from long uploads and downloads.
  2. By uploading small images to the VDS, you can save hard disk space.
  3. Users spend less mobile traffic when visiting pages from a phone.
  4. A dedicated internet channel to the server gets a smaller load if the transmitted media content weighs less. This is another performance boost.

Support for this format among browsers, web applications, and programs is gradually growing. However, it might seem pointless to talk about the benefits of WebP when this format is not natively supported on Linux. Fortunately, there are easy solutions for this.

How to open a WebP file on Linux

Many of you have probably come across the fact that when saving a picture you liked from the internet, it had a strange .webp format, which you could do nothing about. A browser that supports this modern format will be helpful if you discover that your OS lacks a tool to open this image format. You would just need to follow these steps.

  1. Save the image to your hard drive in WebP format.
  2. Locate the image on your hard drive and right-click it.
  3. Look for the item “Open with …” and select any browser that supports WebP.

There is also another way to go about it, which we will discuss next.

Save WebP as PNG

It can be a bit disappointing when typical image editing tools on Linux do not support WebP while almost any image viewer on Windows can open these images and save them as JPG/PNG. If GNU/Linux is not a good application for this kind of image, there are always a lot of good tools on the internet to convert many things, including image file formats. We recommend trying the WebP to PNG converter from 1000Logos. It allows you to complete the conversion online without registering or downloading any programs. It is a great tool for those who do not want to mess with WebP and want to change the image format to a more familiar one. It can also be useful if you want to share an image on some social media where you need to have JPG or PNG format.