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The past and the future of your images: JPEG


.jpg as extension for pictures almost as famous as .doc for text files. But where does it come from and what the future holds?

Everyone knows the .jpg extension. Who keeps a picture, often chosen because he or she is familiar with few other extensions. Photos that are made with digital cameras and smartphones are also, almost always, stand transferred to your computer .jpg stuck behind it. No one thinks about it, it is simply a fact of life: JPEG was, is and always will be.


At .doc we are aware that it is a format that became popular thanks to Microsoft Word. However, JPEG has so little competition that we do not stop to think why it is .jpg, and not, say .abc. Since no one ever thinks about, is not someone who knows what's hidden behind the four-letter word. First and foremost, a fact for your next Quizz: JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group .

The full name already gives a better idea of what precisely constitutes JPEG. It is not just to take pictures, it is a community: universities, research teams, brands, ... All of them work with the group of experts who gathered under the umbrella JPEG. It is important to know that this group invents no technology; standardizes them. Finds a new format no support from the group, which almost always means the end of the ambitions. An example of this is JPEG XR , from the Microsoft's hand.

Future in the past

A 4K display has a resolution that is four times higher than Full HD, which probably is the resolution of your TV set. 

For the casual user but it will make little, but in the .jpg format is already no longer what it was 26 years ago, when the first use of what soon became the norm. Arranged this technology will be updated to be able to participate in technological development in other areas. HDR (High Definition Range) and4K (or QUHD) are going fast rise and it is not inconceivable that each screen within a few years all will be equipped with this technology.

The images will then logically should follow. A giant screen, well, it took a lot of pennies, is wasted on pictures that look pixelated. In 2000, the group bijveerbeeld also wonder if JPEG 2000, for professional purposes. A PDF file makes use of, like pictures we receive will play satellites and movies in the cinema in 2000. JPEG images to be shot by a TV station sent to the studio in this format, where they are converted to MPEG before they appear on the tube.


Professor Touradj Ebrahimi, JPEG evangelist, explained to us a tip of the veil on what the future holds for the file format pictures. "Since we are still at work, I can not reveal too much yet. But I can already say that JPEG XT will work with legacy software. "This means that users of the new format will create and save better pictures than before, while they can also be displayed on older decoders. Think of "decoder" for example your smartphone still uses the current extension.

"Images are increasingly better and more beautiful. The old decoders will these photos can see it, albeit with a slightly lesser richness of colors for example, "says Ebrahimi. The new format will HDR images without deterioration so can store and display, without that older decoders this fall by the wayside. HDR could already be stored and displayed with JPEG 2000 encoders and decoders, but consumers could not get away with this.

extra Small


Finally, JPEG is currently working on a second standard that focuses on the user weekday: JPEG XS should provide solutions for the Internet of Things and Virtual Reality. Both of these technologies have a need for a compression method in order to be able to forward smoothly and without delay, images of a high quality. In addition, XS can save energy and bandwidth. Especially with VR will make a difference if there is the slightest delay in the transfer, our eyes will notice the difference and the whole illusion soap.

The Belgian company intoPIX is currently working on its proposal for the technology behind JPEG file XS. After all, we already know that JPEG invent any technology, but standardizes. Tico as the proposal intoPIX. Antonin Descamps, founder, hopes that their idea will be the norm within two years. For this, the company works closely with researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Université Catholique de Louvain, where it in fact is a spin-off company.

Safety and rights

New technology, however, invariably brings new problems with it. At a time when security and privacy are increasingly problematic duo, it is obvious that this bill should be taken into account in the nomination of technological progress. How JPEG and Professor Peter Schelkens VUB / iMinds, with this deal, you read tomorrow in the second part.

Read more about: 4k , descamps , ebrahimi , HDR , iMinds , jpeg , jpg , Microsoft , quhd , schelkens , UCL , VUB


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JPEG: security and privacy of your photos


The use of images in the .jpg extension is increasing exponentially every day. It is not a luxury to see how we can protect ourselves and our images.

Yesterday we saw that technology is changing rapidly, and that this also applies to your photos. JPEG is celebrating 26 years and in that period the composition of the .jpg extension several times already changed significantly. Also in the near future is a lot of lift for your images. But what about those with security and privacy?

Social media

Taking pictures is becoming easier thanks to our smartphones. We share them increasingly with friends and family, without us thereby think that we pretty much give up personal information. we share our pictures on Facebook, they will be analyzed by unscrupulous complex algorithms to tailor advertising to us.

Once you swing a photo on the web, you can it also not be surprised if you see it used one week later on different websites for various purposes. Infringement of copyright is called so. Often, however, it is so difficult to trace the original source, which many people have quickly lose courage.

Of course, there are now already ways to indicate this with a watermark in the metadata is clogged, but this is for many users with a mysterious process that seems to be difficult and tiring. The metadata also contains a printout of location, which also are used by social media like Facebook and Snapchat to attract advertisers.

As far as necessary,


Peter Schelkens, professor at the VUB and employee iMinds indicates that large companies do not attract much here. JPEG evangelist professor Touradj Ebrahimi enter him in with "great players think they are big enough to have to take this into account." Google was ever have thought, but his file was nowhere really entrance. "Who knows even that Google has ever tried it?" Asked Ebrahimi, where the conference room was silent.

"Social media are not necessarily far and they do not do it on purpose, they go as far as is necessary for them," says Schelkens. Therefore, the protection of consumers should be dealt with at a different level.iMinds works with several spin-offs from universities around these issues. Currently they are working on the future of JPEG, they want to say tighten the security and privacy of users in the technology itself. "In this way we try to influence policy and decision makers," said Schelkens.

It is in the segments

A possible solution is contained in the metadata. According Schelkens there is a need for a standard that footage linking inextricably with the metadata, which could become a reality in a new standard of JPEG. Moreover, it would not be so difficult to also create a legacy-friendly solution here. This would mean that the new standard would be compatible with the older version, without compromising privacy and security.

Indeed, there are some so-called appmarker segments available in the current JPEG standard. Currently though some segments are used to succeed in your location and to register the type of camera that took the picture is taken. This would be more than enough room to implement further measures. Not every kind of new information could be detected by this older decoders, but it would be possible to take pictures after repeated sharing via social media continues to detect.

The future?

As with intoPIX has Schelkens however, no guarantee that the idea of ​​his team will be fully accepted or implemented in any new standard. However, in the past, we know that iMinds a valuable partner for JPEG. It is also far from unlikely that the safety of your photos and privacy in the future is assured thanks to a Belgian contribution.

Read more about: background , iMinds , intopix , jpeg , privacy , security , social media , VUB


Photo format JPEG Microsoft heir



The group behind the ubiquitous JPEG format HD Photo is Microsoft's take a closer look. These Joint Photographic Expert Group will standardize the format as a new generation of JPEG. The new format would bear the name "JPEG XR" and supported eventually by digital cameras. Provisional only Windows Vista and Adobe software lusts Microsoft format.

The vote on the new format takes place in October. Then Microsoft expects that will elapse before the JPEG XR standard is a fact for another year. The software giant promises that simultaneously with the adoption of HD Photo as a new JPEG standard all relevant patents can be used without licensing fees.



By putting Microsoft will probably eliminate the resistance HD Photo. That the company did once before, when the original name "Windows Media Photo 'was changed in HD Photo. The name change was seen as an attempt to make the format more popular with potential partners who do not want to promote the Windows name.



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Technically, according to Microsoft's reason enough to switch from JPEG to HD Photo. The format allows both loss-making aslossless compression, color depths up to 128 bits can handle (at 24 bits for JPEG) and has a high dynamic range variant (HDR).A plus is that HD Photo allows you to show a part of an image without having to extract the full image.


Some of these features gives HD Photo ahead of the other heir to JPEG, JPEG 2000. This standard has been around for a while, but hardly found supporters in digital camera manufacturers.



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