Google Outlines Why They Are Removing JPEG-XL Support From Chrome

Written by Michael Larabel in Google on 31 October 2022 at 12:00 AM EDT. 128 Comments
GOOGLE --
Following yesterday's article about Google Chrome preparing to deprecate the JPEG-XL image format, a Google engineer has now provided their reasons for dropping this next-generation image format.

As noted yesterday, a patch is pending for the Google Chrome/Chromium browser to deprecate the still-experimental (behind a feature flag) JPEG-XL image format support from their web browser. The patch marks Chrome 110 and later as deprecating JPEG-XL image support.

No reasoning was provided for this deprecation, which is odd considering JPEG-XL is still very young in its lifecycle and has been receiving growing industry interest and support. Now this evening is a comment from a Google engineer on the Chromium JPEG-XL issue tracker with their expressed reasons:
"Thank you everyone for your comments and feedback regarding JPEG XL. We will be removing the JPEG XL code and flag from Chromium for the following reasons:

- Experimental flags and code should not remain indefinitely
- There is not enough interest from the entire ecosystem to continue experimenting with JPEG XL
- The new image format does not bring sufficient incremental benefits over existing formats to warrant enabling it by default
- By removing the flag and the code in M110, it reduces the maintenance burden and allows us to focus on improving existing formats in Chrome"

Google finding "not enough interest from the entire ecosystem" around JPEG-XL is rather surprising considering that the bitstream was only frozen in late 2020 and the file format was only standardized last year and the coding system since earlier this year. While JPEG-XL has been available with Chrome, it's been off-by-default behind a feature flag, and so until that browser support matures (or were to mature), obviously web developers aren't aggressively pushing JPEG-XL. The libjxl tooling also remains in a pre-1.0 state.

A few Phoronix readers wrote in following yesterday's article to note that Google is now also not pursuing WebP 2 as a released image format. Rather their WebP 2 effort is to be "used as a playground for image compression experiments."


So moving ahead with JPEG-XL support to be removed from Chrome and WebP 2 not being pursued as a released image format itself, it's looking like Google will be focusing on ultimately further advancing WebP and AVIF for next-gen images.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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