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


After yesterday’s news about Google Chrome planning to deprecate the JPEG-XL image format, Google engineers have now given their reasons for abandoning this future image format.

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

No reason has been given for this decline, which is unfortunate considering JPEG-XL is still very young in its life and receiving industry interest and support. Now this evening is a comment from a Google engineer on the subject of Chromium JPEG-XL and explains their reasons:

“Thank you everyone for your comments and feedback about JPEG XL. We will be removing the JPEG XL code and flag from Chromium for the following reasons:

– Test flags and code should not be permanent
– There is not enough interest from all scenarios to continue experimenting with JPEG XL
– The new graphics system does not bring enough incremental benefits over existing systems to warrant enabling it by default
– By removing the flag and code in M110, it reduces the maintenance burden and allows us to focus on improving the existing system in Chrome.

Google’s finding “there is not enough interest from the entire ecosystem” around JPEG-XL is surprising considering that the bitstream only froze at the end of 2020 and the file format was only standardized last year and the coding process since the beginning of this year. While JPEG-XL is available with Chrome, it’s disabled-by-default behind the scenes, so until browser support matures (or will), web developers apparently aren’t pushing JPEG – XL and strong. The libjxl tool was also in a pre-1.0 version.

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Some Phoronix readers wrote in a follow up to yesterday’s article to note that Google is now not even following WebP 2 as a released image version. Instead their attempt at WebP 2 is to “use them as a playground for photo manipulation experiments.”

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So continue with JPEG-XL support to remove from Chrome and WebP 2 is not followed as a released image format, it looks like Google will focus on increasing WebP and AVIF for future images.

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