The .JPG format is ubiquitous – everything supports it, everything displays it. Microsoft has spent six years creating a new format intended to replace .JPG in the hearts and minds of manufacturers and consumers. Here’s an article about Microsoft’s new HD Photo technology.

The HD Photo format has several advantages – it creates files that are half the size of comparable .JPG files, and it has the native ability to handle more subtle details and richer colors. Although Microsoft has patented the underlying technology, it has agreed to the terms of an open source pledge not to assert its patent rights. Crucially, Adobe has promised to support the new format. Support for HD Photo images is built deeply into Windows Vista.

Other formats have come and gone without dislodging .JPGs as the preferred way to store photos. HD Photo sounds interesting; it may never replace the .JPG format, but we will likely run across it sooner or later – one more file extension to memorize.

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