NOTE: This is not a true genealogy article. If you are looking for genealogy-related articles, you might want to skip this one. However, the article does describe a general-purpose image compression tool that has many, many uses, including some uses by genealogists. As such, you might find it interesting.
The gnomes at Google Chrome Labs certainly keep busy. The latest product to be delivered from this software development group is an image compression tool called Squoosh. You probably won’t need to use it often but, when you need to make an image file smaller to send by email or to publish on a web page, it can be a valuable tool.
After all, you probably don’t want your web site’s visitors to download 60 megabyte images! That makes for a very slow web site when viewed on slower-speed Internet connections, such as on dial-up or over a cellular data connection.
Squoosh is a cloud-based app. To use Squoosh, you do not need to install any software into your computer. You simply open a web browser and go to https://squoosh.app/ and start using the app. Since it is cloud-based, Squoosh works on Windows, Macintosh, Chromebook, Linux, iPad, Android tablets, and probably any other computer that includes a modern web browser. Squoosh will even work on an iPhone or on an Android smartphone although the small screen size of those cell phones can be a limitation.
Did I mention that Squoosh is available free of charge?
What’s not to like?
The Squoosh app itself is incredibly simple to use. Go to https://squoosh.app/ to load Squoosh into your browser, then drag and drop an image into the browser tab or click Select An Image to upload one from your computer. That loads the image into Squoosh, ready for your choice of compression or conversion.
Perhaps the one downside of Squoosh is that it is so powerful that it offers many options. You can select the amount of compression desired, select from different compression algorithms, color palettes, and more. The end result is a bit confusing for anyone not familiar with the issues of image compression. For instance, the user is asked to choose from a compression standard from the drop-down menu (MozJPEG, OptiPNG, WebP, and so on), then use the slider to change the strength of the compression. More compression means smaller file sizes and lower image quality.
Not only will Squoosh compress images, it will also convert them to other formats, such as to OptiPNG, MozJPG, WebP, Browser PNG, JPG, and WebP.
The Squoosh user also can click Show Advanced Settings for even more control, such as smoothing and noise shaping. Once you are satisfied with the results, click the Download button in the bottom right of the screen to download the newly-compressed image to your computer and you’re done.
For those who care about the technical things, Squoosh is written in WebAssembly programming language. As a result, it is a high-speed app, even when the Squoosh web site is under a relatively heavy load.
Powerful, no software installation, and free of charge. The new Squoosh app in the cloud looks like a winner! You can try it out at: https://squoosh.app/.