Instagram launched Boomerang today, a stand-alone app that creates looping videos.
It's not a photo. It's not a gif. It's a Boomerang.
The app creates replayable clips that are somewhere in between a video and a gif. By holding down the record button, the app takes a burst of photos that it knits together into a looping video that plays, then plays in reverse, the moment that you captured.
An example, from over at TechCrunch:
Well, a series of photos that loops again and again -- that's technically a "gif." What's novel about the app is the "boomerang" effect -- the playing forward, then playing in reverse.
As Instagram's foray into looping video, the app likely seeks to compete with Vine, another looping video app, which is owned by Twitter. On Vine, however, users can create small cinematic masterpieces shot by shot -- infinite shots, if they want -- as long as the video is no more than 6 seconds in length. Boomerang, on the other hand, is one-click. It's more user-friendly for people who want to create clever videos but may not know how to shoot a quick narrative shot by shot.
Boomerang is perhaps most similar to Phhhoto, another photo-sharing app, which allows users to create repeating gifs. But, with Instagram as the most popular photo-sharing service around, Boomerang offers a new opportunity to create viral gifs and post them within a community (Instagram's) that already has a lot of traction. The clips can also be posted to Facebook.
Watch Instagram's video, here, for a quick tutorial of how it works: