Despite many alternatives offering their services, the JPEG image format remains king. Seeing as it’s unlikely to be supplanted anytime soon, companies such as Google and Dropbox have been working hard to squeeze every last byte out of its compression abilities. For Dropbox, the solution was Lepton, delivering images 22 per cent smaller with no quality loss. Now Google has its own option — Guetzli. And you can try it yourself right now.
Normally, you’d have to grab the Guetzli source from GitHub and compile it yourself. Fortunately, as gHacks’ Martin Brinkmann discovered, a more user-friendly approach is available, via an application called FileOptimizer.
Created by Javier Gutiérrez Chamorro, FileOptimizer supports a great many formats and encoding methods, including Guetzli. However, it’s not enabled out of the box.
Here’s how to switch it on (courtesy of gHacks):
1. Open the fileoptimizer.ini file. You find it in the main user folder, e.g. C:usersmartinfileoptimizer.ini
2. Locate the parameter JPEGAllowLossy, and set it to true. This is done by replacing false in the line with true, so that the beginning of the line reads JPEGAllowLossy=true
3. Restart FileOptimizer if it is running already.
From his testing, Brinkmann found that Guetzli performed as advertised, reducing JPEGs by 20-30 per cent with no perceptible loss in quality. The bad news is, it takes forever to produce this result.
So give it a whirl… but only if your PC has nothing better to do today.