The busiest day of the year for instant messaging and calling app Whatsapp is usually the New Year’s Eve when its global subscribers take to the free chat app to wish each other. Having recently experienced that revelry, Whatsapp announced earlier this week, that it has now enabled a GIPHY powered GIF search function that lets a user add fun, silly and abundantly expressive GIFs in their chats from within the app.
In Whatsapp’s latest beta for Android, The app now comes alive with its GIF search function powered by none other than GIPHY, the pioneer in curating GIFs. The industry is touting this to be the most important update to the messenger in the recent times.
According to sources, the emoji button at the corner of chat windows will now have a double role to play. One tap on the emoji face will let users choose from a variety of response or reaction interfaces such as regular emojis or an interesting GIF from GIPHY. It may not sound much to the older generation of Whatsapp users, but can be monumental for those who have been shuffling between GIPHY’s standalone app and chat apps or worse still, their mobile browser and chat apps.
GIPHY was formed in 2013 by two friends Jace and Alex. It was born in New York, GIPHY came about as a search engine for GIFs. The need for this platform was felt since there was no decent way to discover and share the best GIFs that the web had to offer, even though such animation had been around for almost decades. Cooke and Chung have been recorded saying that the vision for GIPHY is not just to get GIF creators from across the world on one platform for everyone else to discover these GIFs, but also to grow it into a community. We may see this search engine develop into something of a network area for exclusive GIF artists, bloggers, enthusiasts and any user looking to share these GIFs or wanting to create the next meme that will break the internet.
The announcement comes in months after Whatsapp had announced GIF support to the app in November 2016. Additionally, Whatsapp had also increased its image sharing limit. Earlier, one could only share ten images at a time in a Whatsapp chat. This has now been changed to 20 images at a time. This is important for people who like to show and tell yes, but more important for users who like to create their own GIFs for personal or professional purposes.
The features are only available in the beta android app and not the stable version that you can download from the app store. What will be interesting to see now is if Facebook owned Messenger also follows suit and includes GOF search functionality by GIPHY in its suite. Industry banter on that is that it wouldn’t be long before you see these features in Messenger as well.
If you are the early adopters of all things GIPHY, you may want to check out the beta version 2.17.8 for Android by clicking here.
Another way to stay ahead of the curve is to enroll in Whatsapp’s pre-release testing platform on the Google Play Store. More details here.