AVIF, the new photo format supported by Chrome and Mozilla

Chrome and Firefox announce support for the AVIF photo format that will make images even lighter

The era of Jpeg files may be nearing its end and to kill this compression format for photos will be neither the Png nor the recent WebP: it will be AVIF, AV1 Image File Format. AVIF, in fact, is a format developed by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) and it's completely free.

The Alliance for Open Media also includes Google, Mozilla and Cisco, among other digital bigwigs, and this alliance also develops the AV1 video compression format that, together with H.266/VVC and MPEG 5, contends for the crown of the best video format for this decade. The fact that Google and Mozilla are also behind AV1 and AVIF, however, offers a significant strategic advantage to AOMedia's formats, native integration in the world's most popular browsers: Chrome (and all Chromium-based browsers) and Firefox.

AVIF: why it's important

It's its technical characteristics that make AVIF a credible format as an alternative to Jpeg. Compression can create files up to ten times lighter than Jpeg, while maintaining high quality, support for HDR, a color depth of 8, 10 or 12 bits, and support for black and white channels.

AVIF on Chrome and Firefox: when it arrives

Theoretically, AVIF should have already arrived on Google and Mozilla browsers, but the two companies' plans have been delayed by the coronavirus emergency. Mozilla, for example, began bringing AVIF to Firefox as early as January 2020 and planned to implement it in final form in Firefox 76 in May. Now, instead, AVIF is likely to arrive on this browser only in August, with the launch of Firefox 80. Identical discourse for Chrome: AVIF will probably arrive in August with Chrome 85.

Netflix and Windows already use it

Another big push for AVIF is being given by Netflix, which implemented this file format in 2018. All the images we see in Netflix apps, on all platforms, are compressed right in AVIF: the GUI with its icons, movie and TV series posters and many other graphic elements we see are compressed with this format.

Finally, even if users don't know it, it's very likely that they can already open AVIF files on their computers: Microsoft integrated support for this format already last year, with the Windows 10 May Update 2019.