All posts in “Gifs”

Giphy held talks to raise a massive new funding round

We’re hearing from a number of sources that Giphy, the big platform for hosting GIFs that also runs a GIF keyboard, set out to raise huge new financing round — though it’s not clear if it ever crossed the finish line.

Sources pegged the round at something as high as around $100 million, but that may have changed over time. We’ve been hearing about this attempted round for some time now, and whispers of this seem to have started a few months ago. As always, it’s possible that the talks  may have changed over time — or in the end, Giphy may have not have gone with financing at all for the time being. Giphy last raised $72 million at a reported $600 million valuation at the end of 2016.

But the consumer investing environment isn’t necessarily dead, or even in purgatory, right now. HQ Trivia, for example, was able to raise $15 million at a $100 million valuation. This comes amid a time when the GIF space at large seems to be heating up. Given that the space seems to be growing quickly, it makes sense to try to raise additional capital in order to secure the right partnerships — and also get the right talent on board to optimize the experience so users are getting the right GIFs at the right moments and keep coming back to the platform over and over again. Given the growth, and that the business model isn’t fully fleshed out, it makes sense that Giphy could use some additional cash.

The apps in the space clearly have momentum. Giphy says it has 300 million daily active users — which, depending on who you ask in the Valley, could have a number of different interpretations. One of Giphy’s competitors, Tenor, points to searches on its platform as a success metric — saying that it hit 12 billion GIF searches in February. Gfycat, meanwhile, is positioning itself as a company geared around creator tools with mechanisms that optimize the fidelity of the inbound GIF, which also says it has around 130 million monthly active users. Gfycat raised $10 million in 2016, while Tenor (formerly Riffsy) raised $10 million in 2015.

It also presents a unique opportunity for all these platforms to start thinking about sponsored content. For example, if you open up a GIF search engine inside of a keyboard, one of these companies could plant a sponsored GIF right inside the search rail. Should it be sticky enough and hit the right sweet spot, it could get incredibly high share counts, and as a result offer a lot of reach for those companies looking to make GIFs.

This kind of branded content model is usually tied in with messaging, but GIFs could offer leagues more engagement than the average ad — which is what advertisers are looking for.

You’ll find a lot of Gfycat links around the Internet, but some of the most fertile ground for these platforms exists within the various messenger platforms. Facebook Messenger, for example, uses these platforms more or less indiscriminately — switching between services relatively easy as it looks to just optimize the user experience and give them the best content. But for iMessage, for example, users install a specific keyboard. Neither of these apps are exactly blockbusters (nor should they be compared to apps like Facebook).

Here’s the Giphy app, where you can search for GIFs and copy them and such, for the last 90 days:

GIFs are increasingly popular, partly thanks to their ability to compress a ton of information into a short clip. This compression allows for punchy, memorable communication, which is great for messaging but also great for ads.

While you could easily write out a text that tries to translate that information, searching for a GIF that translates not just the text but also the kind of subtext offers a ton of value. It’s thanks to that these platforms have risen to such prominence — both with Giphy’s own 300 million daily active user number and Tenor’s 12 billion monthly searches number. They take different approaches to measuring their success, but the point remains that this represents a pretty massive opportunity.

We reached out to Giphy several times for comment, but did not hear back. We’ll update the story when we hear back from them.

Kano’s latest gadget: a build-it-yourself camera for custom photo filters and GIFs

After raising $28 million last November to add more firepower to its growth, Kano is unveiling the newest addition to its range of build-it-yourself gadgets that you use to learn to code: a camera.

London-based Kano is using this week’s CES in Las Vegas to show off a full prototype of the new Camera Kit — designed to work with Kano’s existing suite of gadgets, which include a computer kit, a motion sensor and the Pixel animated lightbox.

The camera is launching at an unspecified date later this year, so there’s no official price attached to it yet (although a Kickstarter page giving a sneak peak of it last year said it would cost $129.99). You can register your interest for ordering one here.

As with its previous hardware — which has been used by around 200,000 people globally, who have coded and posted to Kano’s community over more than 380,000 apps, artworks, songs and games that they’ve created using that hardware — the idea behind the Kano’s camera is two-fold.

First, the company aims to make tech and the use of it more accessible by demystifying how it works by giving people the components and instructions to assemble the camera themselves. Second, it then carries on the step-by-step nature by gradually introducing different functions and showing users how to use them to build software for their newly-assembled hardware.

While the lightbox, for example, let you create light-based artwork and games, the camera gives users the ability to “code” it to make different photo filters, GIFs, and to modify the settings for how the image is captured in the first place.

Adding a camera into the mix is an important step for Kano.

With the rise of smartphones and mobile phones in general — and their move into becoming a near-ubiquitous computing and communications device for younger people — the camera has become one of the most significant and used features of these devices. These days, having a device for capturing and manipulating images would feel like something important is missing, not just for users but for Kano itself as part of its mission.

“What we are doing here has not really been attempted for several decades,” CEO and co-founder Alex Klein told me last year. “We are building a computing company end to end.” 

What this also means is that having one as part of the Kano suite gives the whole platform a new profile with a new group of users. There will always be those who are happy tinkering with any gadget and learning how it works, but potentially, those who may be less interested in building games, might be more interested in figuring out how a digital camera works and customising it.

“Our goal is to open up technology, so that anyone can understand and shape it,” said Klein in a statement today. “We are thrilled to bring simple, playful, creative computing to CES for the first time.”

Part of that mission has been also to use different channels to appeal to a wider audience. That’s included revealing new devices and uses in YouTube videos, and sneak-peaks on crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter. The page where Kano had first unveiled the camera among other new gadgets last year has already picked up more than $643,000 in backing.

Kano also, of course, also uses more traditional routes to sell products. Its devices are sold in Best Buys and Targets in North America, selected Walmart stores, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Indigo, Microsoft, The Source and Toys R Us — some 4,500 retailers in all.

Indonesia wanted to block WhatsApp because people are sending ‘obscene GIFs’

Image: RITCHIE B. TONGO/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

WhatsApp appears to be the latest social media platform to run afoul of Indonesia’s censorship rules.

The populous Southeast Asian nation on Monday vowed to block WhatsApp within 48 hours, if it did not ensure that “obscene” GIFs were removed from the platform.

Indonesia later dropped its threat after Tenor, WhatsApp’s third party GIF provider, appeared to have fixed the issue.

“We see now that they have done what we asked. Therefore we won’t block them,” the director general from Indonesia’s communication and informatics ministry, Semuel Pangerapan told Reuters on Tuesday.

WhatsApp relies on both Tenor and Giphy to provide GIFs to users, and randomly assigns users to either GIF database. Giphy didn’t appear to have the issue, because it offers its clients the option to filter sensitive content.

According to Reuters, iPhone users were unable to access Tenor GIFs on Tuesday, with Tenor saying that it had “already implemented a fix for the content issues.”

Tenor is one of WhatsApp's third-party GIF providers

Tenor is one of WhatsApp’s third-party GIF providers

Image: mashable

WhatsApp is the country’s fourth most popular messaging app, with approximately 39 million users on it, according to research site eMarketer.

Initially, Indonesian authorities were alarmed by reports of “obscene” content circulating on the platform.

“If there is no response [by] Wednesday, we are blocking [WhatsApp],” Pangerapan had told local news outlet Detik on Monday.

But WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, had said that it could not monitor content because communications were encrypted and GIFs were run by third-party providers.

“We’ve directed the Indonesia government to work with these third-party providers to review their content,” Facebook spokeswoman Charlene Chian had told news outlet ABC.

Clamping down on Google too

It doesn’t end there.

Indonesia on Tuesday added that they were also calling on Google to “clean up” its network.

The Muslim-majority country said it would summon representatives of messaging services and search engines, including Alphabet Inc — Google’s parent company.

“We will call all providers, including Google to clean up their network,” said Pangerapan.

Indonesia has strict anti-pornography laws and authorities have been increasingly tightening its grip on the internet.

Earlier this year, Indonesia briefly blocked popular messaging service Telegram, fearing that it was being used by terror groups.

The country also placed a temporary block on Netflix earlier last year, saying that they displayed “violence and adult content.” 2ba8 dc2b%2fthumb%2f00001

The fastest and easiest way to share GIFs to Instagram on iPhone and Android

Image: brittany herbert/mashable

Sharing photos and videos to Instagram is a no-brainer. But sharing GIFs? That requires a little more work.

The first thing you need to know about sharing GIFs to Instagram is that you’re not really sharing a GIF after it’s all said and done. 

What I mean is, the GIF you want to share basically needs to be converted into a video file. More specifically, an MP4 video file.

Yeah, it’s a little bit of a pain in the ass to convert the files, but hey, if you want to grow your meme-based Insta to even come close to @fuckjerry, you’re gonna need to put in the hard work. 

For iOS

There are dozens of apps available that’ll convert your GIFs into a video file, but none as fast as using GifLab (free) for iOS.

Step 1: Save the the GIF you want to share to Instagram to your camera roll. 

Step 2: Open GifLab and select “GIF to Instagram.”

Step 3: Select your GIF and adjust the playback speed.

Step 4: Tap “Save and share on Instagram.”

Step 5: Break out the 🍸🍷🍹, and enjoy how damn easy that was.

For Android

On Android, the easiest way to post a GIF is with GIPHY CAM (free).

Step 1: Save the the GIF you want to share to Instagram to your camera roll (Download folder). 

Step 2: Open GIPHY CAM and tap on the camera roll (film strip).

Step 3: Select your GIF and then tap the > button.

Step 4: Wait for the GIF to convert, tap the Instagram button, and then share.

Step 5: Break out the 🍸🍷🍹, and enjoy how damn easy that was.

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Facebook finally, finally, finally lets you put GIFs in comments

That sweet reaction GIF finally has a place on Facebook.

After a months-long test of the feature, the social network announced that it’s finally rolling out support for GIFs in Facebook comments.

Beginning today, anyone can add a GIF to a Facebook comment using a new GIF button that appears alongside the emoji picker. Much like the GIF button in Facebook Messenger, the new GIF comments are sourced from Facebook’s GIF partners, including Giphy, Tenor, and Disney.

Importantly, there are a few limitations. Though you can search for GIFs using the feature’s built-in search, adding a specific GIF you have in mind may be a bit more difficult. You can’t upload your own GIFs or post GIFs via a URL like you can with a normal Facebook post. 2011 7b94%2fthumb%2f00001

Facebook has a complicated history with GIFs. The social network supported GIF uploads in early versions of the service but discontinued it more than a decade ago. In 2015, Facebook reversed course and added support for GIF links via Giphy or other sources and added a GIF button to its Messenger. 

Despite the restrictions, though, Facebook’s GIF features remain hugely popular. Facebook users exchanged nearly 13 billion GIFs on Messenger in 2016 alone, according to the company, which works out to about 25,000 GIFs each minute. 0e8d 2626%2fthumb%2f00001