Google has announced that it has been working on a new image file type called WebP, that could mean curtains for traditional file types such as JPEG, GIF and PNG.

Announced via its Chromium blog, Google said that a newer, smaller file type was needed to speed up the web experience.

"Most of the common image formats on the web today were established over a decade ago and are based on technology from around that time", said Richard Rabbat, product manager.

"Some engineers at Google decided to figure out if there was a way to further compress lossy images like JPEG to make them load faster, while still preserving quality and resolution.

"As part of this effort, we are releasing a developer preview of a new image format, WebP, that promises to significantly reduce the byte size of photos on the web, allowing web sites to load faster than before".

The WebP file type is based on the V8 codec and uses techniques from the VP8 video intra frame coding, adapted with a lightweight container based on RIFF.

Rabbat states that, using a sample of a million images on the web, recoding to WebP reduced the file size by an average of 39 per cent.

Google has provided a handy FAQ on WebP, which you can access here.