In 2015, a new image format was born of a collaboration between Cisco, Google, and Xiph.org. Dubbed AVIF, the format is based on the Av1 video codec.
It is royalty-free and widely regarded as the most highly optimized image format to be developed to date, superior to old standbys BPEG, PNG, and even the newer WebP.
Netflix rolled out support for the AV1 video format in 2018, even before the new standard was formally approved in February 2019. Microsoft gave the format another significant boost in May 2019 when it incorporated support for the AV1 format into Windows 10 and made it available in a video codec on the Microsoft store.
Taken together, these companies’ ready acceptance of the new format prompted companies that make a variety of video playback software to follow suit, setting the stage for easy acceptance of a new image format with a similar pedigree.
Not long after the AVIF format was finalized, Mozilla began work almost at once to incorporate support for the new image format into their Firefox browser. Their original plan was for Firefox 76, to be rolled out in May 2020, to support the new format.
Unfortunately, the development process hit a number of snags, mostly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of now, support for the image format still isn’t in place, but the company is expecting it to be incorporated as of Firefox 80, in August.
As it turns out, Google is also planning to incorporate AVIF support in Chrome 85, also slated for release in August of this year. Microsoft is set to add support for the new image format by the end of the year, 2020 for Chromium Edge, which will see support for the new format extend through to all of the major browsers on the web.
There’s nothing you need to do to prepare, but by next year, you’ll be able to use even more highly compressed images on your webpages, which will result in faster load times.