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The GIF backstory

The GIF backstory

The Graphics Interchange Format was a technological solution developed by Stephen Wilhite.

  • In the 1980s, Wilhite was the lead engineer on a team at CompuServe tasked with finding a way to quickly distribute “high-quality, high-resolution graphics” in color.
  • Developing this became an obsession for Wilhite, who would perfect the product at home.
  • The result, GIF, was released in 1987, but its commercial success is due in large part to Netscape, which, in 1995 added the ability for GIFs to loop.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE SAME ARTICLE

  • With the rise of GIFs came a historic internet debate: whether it’s pronounced “gif” (with a hard G, like “gift”) or “jif.”
  • In 2012, Oxford American Dictionaries named “GIF” its US Word of the Year, accepting both pronunciations.
  • In 2013, Stephen Wilhite...

The most ubiquitous platform for GIFs today is Giphy, used by 700m+ people and said to come 2nd only to Google in search engine activity.

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