Think You Know the JPEG? Think Again

The first misconception of the JPEG is that it is a type of file — it’s not. JPEG is a technique for image compression. The acronym stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, the professional group that developed the JPEG standard.

In 1986, this committee formed to develop a standard for compressing image files. Note that this predates common web practices like blogging, email and company websites — all of which benefit from smaller image files — but the original intention was to help out pros and amateurs in photography, who needed to store large files.

The file format for a JPEG is either Exif (Exchangeable image file format) or JFIF (JPEG File Interchange Format), but it’s not common to distinguish between them — they’re just known as JPEG.

In the early days of the Internet, the common file format to use was the GIF, but like PNG, this format limits the number of colors (called “indexed”), so soon the JPEG won people over.

via Think You Know the JPEG? Think Again.

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