After barely three years’ existence, GIF search engine Giphy has become one of the Internet’s big hitters, with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft integrating the platform’s functions into their own services.
Giphy launched in 2013 and is now estimated to be worth around $300 million. The service lets users search and share thousands of animated GIFs — animated picture files that cleverly sum up a whole range of feelings, jokes and points of view in a few seconds. Most are based on extracts from video clips, movies or TV shows, and they’re often used as a way of reacting to or commenting on news stories and current events. To keep offering users all this content while respecting the copyright holders, Giphy has now signed several partnerships with TV networks, record labels and brands of all kinds.
Just a few months after it first appeared online, Facebook signed up the services of Giphy to bring new functionality to the platform. Since a GIF can be worth a thousand words, integrating Giphy helps Facebook users share thoughts and feelings easily via the social network and its Messenger platform.
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Twitter is the latest social network to announce a collaboration with Giphy (and also Riffsy), with the upcoming arrival of a button for searching GIFs and sharing them in tweets or private messages on both web and mobile versions. Twitter’s “GIF” button will open a library of animated images to suit every situation, with a keyword-based search function and various categories to browse. This new feature will roll out worldwide progressively over the coming weeks. In 2015, more than 100 million GIFs were shared on Twitter.
As well as emoji, photos and videos, the new Outlook.com email platform will soon let users insert GIFs from the Giphy database via an integrated search tool in the webmail interface. This new version of Outlook is due to land first in North America.
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Animated GIFs have gained huge popularity on the Internet and are frequently used on social media, blogs (Tumblr) and alternative media sites (BuzzFeed).