Animated GIFs are all the rage! Tumblr is the latest social network to introduce its own gif-maker tool, following on the heels of Instagram's launch of its Boomerang app and other stand-alone gif creator tools like Giphy. Tumblr's tool is launched as a new feature in its iphone app and lets users pluck media from their phones to be used as gif fodder.
Tumblr is the home of the GIF and we've been working on GIFs for a really long time, with GIF curation, GIF search, and our Tumblr TV initiative," explains Tumblr engineering lead Kevin Grant, who also led project management on the new GIF Maker feature. "And something we've really been excited about for a long time is to actually create them."
The new tool acknowledges that when we take photos on our smartphones, we often do so in series, maybe three or four images at a time, to try to get the best shot. Now these stop-motion-like images can be used to create short videos. And unlike Boomerang, there's a little more flexibility in sizing options, and whether the gif plays on rebound or not (which can be either addictive or annoying, or both when you see one in your feed).
Tumblr's gif-making tool may be the first in a fleet of new creative tools to come. Unlike other social network sites, Tumblr has always had its basis in content creation, similar to the blogging world's new forum Medium, where users wrote daily posts based on their own reflections, posted cultural trivia they like, and generally created a curated media gallery experience for their fans.
According to TechCrunch, the company is thinking about ways it can innovate longform content on mobile, perhaps giving everyday people the opportunity to create expansive, media-rich posts that rival those of major news networks like the New York Times, who has increasingly started shaping its features for Facebook's Instant articles.
"There's so much whitespace there right now, either in building a whole new creative feature set or in building the best support for all the new emerging technologies and tools," [Tumblr founder David Karp] says.