It’s not very often you see a new file format making its way out in the open, but Microsoft has just introduced one. Dubbed HEIF, short for High Efficiency Image Format.
Support for this new format was rolled out with Windows 10 Redstone 4 build 17123 that recently made its way to the Fast ring of the preview program. And with it, the software titan is one step closer to the launch of this new version.
As the company details, HEIF is an image container that makes use of all the latest technologies and codecs to improve quality, compression and capabilities of images, compared to the usual suspects like JPEG, GIF and PNG.
Developed by the Moving Pictures Expert Group, it is claimed that HEIF can store twice as much information as a JPEG one of the same size — at better quality.
This format also offers support for image sequences, image collections, live images, HDR, video and even audio. All packed into one streamlined and optimized file. It even plays nicely with auxiliary images like alpha or depth maps.
All this in the name of making it easier for users to share all types of photos with other platforms.
Worth a mention that this release only delivers the essentially viewing ability, and it is not yet possible to edit these types of images. But that’s obviously coming in future versions of the operating system, along with support in the native apps built into Windows 10.
Who knows, we may even get a dedicated app for managing HEIF images.
It’s an important development, this.
Refreshingly surprising, even.
And the fact that Microsoft practically left this till last makes it even more remarkable. Redstone 4 has already shaped up to be a feature rich update, and this new addition simply builds on top of that.