Google is in a great position as they can write a spec, release a browser implementing the spec and update their sites (which account for a substantial portion of the web) in such a short time. In essence, there is no "chicken and the egg" problem of who goes first.
This also happened with SPDY , which Chrome already supports and most Google sites now use instead of HTTPS (for Chrome, at least).
I think we can expect Google to do everything they can to make the web faster.
On the other hand Apple and Microsoft don't really have to want to make the Internet as fast or good as possible. They either do it to support a different agenda, like not needing Flash, or from a defensive point of view, like Microsoft with IE9. But when it comes to choose between what they really care about, they won't choose the web. That's why Apple hasn't made the embedded browser as good as the main one, and Microsoft would rather use more proprietary stuff to couple with their browser, like DirectX.
My point is it feels natural to these companies to use the web only to help their main objective indirectly, which is different than simply wanting to make the web better, while in Google's case, it feels natural to them to want to improve the web because that interests them directly. So when it comes to who really wants to improve the whole web the most, I'd trust Google.
There is a need for better image formats for photography, for gigatextures, for voxels, for specialized cases, but not for general web use. This problem is solved. Move along.
ASCII has served us well, it's still used now, and even though it's broken in a lot of ways, UTF-8 addresses most of those to a degree that's satisfactory enough we don't need people inventing new character encoding systems.
Between GIF, PNG and JPEG you have what you need. Don't cry over a few wasted bytes or a few smudgy pixels.
And it's not like JPEG or ASCII or UTF-8 or anything we use today is going to suddenly disappear if we add new browser support. Why not strive for excellence?
FWIW I disagree strongly with his sentiment.
It may be X% smaller than JPEG for the same image quality, but does that really matter?
If the bandwidth cost saved is greater than the cost of adding WebP to Chrome, then it's a net win. Or if it makes some Google page load 10 ms faster, that would also pay for it.
years before you can rely on all your clients having WebP support.
That's what content negotiation is for.
Majority of the mobile phones will only have access to 2G/3G speeds.
In a lot of countries, mobile data is metered. Saved bytes = saved money.
So, yes, it does really matter
They didn't, for example, drop support for Theora which like the image formats you name, is older and has less advanced compression technology but is still "free" in many senses that some consider important for interoperable web technologies.
Currently XR has a lossless mode, 4:4:4 color support, tiling and alpha which make it more featureful than WebP but those have all been announced for future versions with some features having experimental implementations already.
On the other hand XR, at least the currently available encoders, seems to perform very well under PSNR tests but fails compared with even JPEG in SSIM tests.
It also worth noting that being an ISO standard holds far less status ever since Microsoft bent the procedures beyond breaking point for OOXML.