For a 25-year-old format, JPEG has really stood the test of time. While GIF has been mostly superseded by PNG (still) and VP8 / H264 (motion), for photographs and the like, JPEG reigns supreme. That’s not to say no one’s come up with a better format — they have, with the best contenders, such as WebP, basically wrappers around video codecs. This includes Nokia’s High Efficiency Image File Format, or HEIF, which Microsoft will soon support in Windows 10. Whether it catches on, well, that’s another matter.
The latest Insider build of Windows 10, 17123, comes with support for HEIF, according to a post by Microsoft’s Dona Sarkar and Brandon LeBlanc.
This support isn’t just for the Photos app — you’ll be able to view images in the format natively via Explorer too:
HEIF is an image container that leverages modern codecs like HEVC to improve quality, compression, and capabilities compared to earlier formats like JPEG, GIF, and PNG. In addition to traditional single images, HEIF supports encoding image sequences, image collections, auxiliary images like alpha or depth maps, live images & video, audio, and HDR for greater contrast.
Adding HEIF to Windows 10 is an interesting development, considering Microsoft has its own competitor of sorts in JPEG-XR (formerly HD Photo). That said, over the last few years, Microsoft has slowly moved away from its anti-competitive roots; the post even mentions that HEIF support was sparked by customer feedback.
If Google is obsessed with compression, you can count on the likes of Dropbox having a thing for it too. Driven by the need to store petabytes of user data in the most efficient way possible, the cloud storage company has come up with its own lossless JPEG compressor that can shave over 20 per cent off file sizes.Read more
When you consider both Google and Dropbox have top people trying to squeeze every last drop out of JPEG, I don’t think the format will be going away any time soon.
Still, we should be working towards some kind of successor… whatever it may be.