Google Chrome Is Already Preparing To Deprecate JPEG-XL

DeluxeNamesDeluxeNames AdminAdministrator

JPEG-XL has been looked on rather favorably as a royalty-free, next-generation lossy/lossless image format with much better performance than JPEG. To much surprise, Google Chrome is already making preparations to deprecate JPEG-XL image support in their browser.

JPEG-XL is based in part on Google's PIK proposal and the file format was only standardized last year and the coding system firmed up earlier this year while the bitstream has been frozen since late 2020. Google Chrome has offered JPEG-XL (JXL) image support via a feature flag (chrome://flags/#enable-jxl) since Chrome 91 while with Chrome 110, Google is looking at deprecating this still-fresh-and-new image format.

Current Chrome/Chromium releases allow JPEG-XL image format support to be enabled. But surprisingly it's now facing deprecation at Google.

As can be seen from this issue ticket that has tracked Chrome/Blink's JPEGX-XL support over the past year, there has been improvements and much interest in the JPEG-XL image format support.

But now this morning I was tipped off to this pending commit that notes the plans to deprecate JPEG-XL in Chrome/Chromium M110.
NOTE: JPEG XL format will be deprecated in Chrome 110 release.

It's rather surprising and strange to see Google deprecating JPEG-XL support so soon... But if Google is backing away from JPEG-XL support within their widely-used web browser already, it doesn't bode well for the future of this JPEG image standard. There is no public comments on that pending commit with their rationale for deprecating JPEG-XL, but Google for their part has been actively promoting their WebP format. Since last year Google has also been working on WebP2 for further advancing their open-source image format and aiming to offer comparable results to AV1-derived AVIF. Hopefully we'll learn more about their decision in time.


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