giphy

Category Archives — giphy

Gfycat starts rolling out 360 degree GIF content – TechCrunch

GIFs offer a way to compress a ton of information into a small amount of space, and while Gfycat has positioned itself as more of a short-form video centric platform, it’s going to take a step further to see what a step beyond a standard GIF looks like.

The company today said it would be rolling out 360 degree GIF-like short form videos, which will allow users to plant themselves in the middle of what is effectively a looping video like a GIF. While that presents much more of a challenge to users for generating content, CEO Richard Rabbat said the proliferation of tools like 3D cameras and content from the actual producers like video studios would make it an increasingly popular way to interact with short-form content in a compact form factor.

“We’ve always thought that GIFs are amazing from many perspectives,” Rabbat said. “That goes beyond whether you’re looking at the content to use it in messaging, or you’re consuming it for entertainment value, or you’re using it for decoration in the case of the augmented reality effort we’re working on. We want people to really get excited about how they consume the content to the point where they can see the subjects of the content in a much more lifelike way, and really get excited about that.”

It’s not going to be all that unfamiliar from 360 degree videos you might find on Facebook or other platforms. Users on desktop can use their mouse to move a GIF around, while on mobile devices users can pan their phone around in order to see different parts of the GIF. The idea is to give users a way to have a more robust interaction with a piece of content like a GIF in a compact experience without having to strap on a VR headset or anything along those lines.

The company is starting off by rolling out some 360 degree content from Paramount, which is producing 360 degree content around its Mission Impossible films. And while a lot of content on Gfycat — or other platforms — comes from shows, movies or games along those lines, it makes more sense for those studios to use these kinds of tools to increase awareness for their shows or movies.

via Gfycat

There are a lot of companies working on figuring out the best messaging experiences around GIFs. But Google acquiring Tenor, a GIF search tool that works across multiple platforms, may have set a bare minimum bar for the value of companies that are looking to help users share GIFs with their friends. Gfycat positions itself as something that’s geared toward more creator tools, and recently said it hit 180 million monthly active users.

“We’re creating experiences that we think are going to enable others and inspire others to create that same kind of content,” Rabbat said.” We expect it’s going to be a subset of what people do with 2D, but a much more immersive experience where people will spend more time looking at the content. From a consumption perspective, by not requiring people to put on VR headsets, we’re making it much more consumer friendly.”

Source link

Gfycat ramps up its focus on game clips and highlights as it hits 180M monthly users – TechCrunch

Gfycat is already a pretty popular host for lots of content like short clips from shows and movies, but there’s also a pretty substantial store of content centered around gaming — which is why the company is starting to put some extra focus on it.

Gfycat, which is centered around creator tools to make those short-form video clips and GIFs, said it’s going to create an interface specifically designed for gamers. Called “Gfycat for gaming,” the startup hopes to ride both the wave of ever-omnipresent GIFs getting shared around the internet and popular, highly shareable game titles like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Rocket League. GIFs serve as a pretty good vehicle for delivering highlight reel clips for those games, which is why it’s going to be putting some extra focus on that audience. Gaming is one of the most popular verticals on Gfycat, CEO Richard Rabbat said.

“As we were looking at different verticals, gaming is such a strong vertical, and we wanted gamers to get an experience that just really speaks to what they’re looking for,” he said. “We wanted to just focus on that as opposed to content that was much more mixed. You see a lot of teams or players that will play for hours, but that exciting moment was like 10 seconds or 20 seconds. They want to capture them and keep them, to chat about them, and share them.”

While the platforms are certainly a big component of this, creator tools for getting that content onto the Internet is also a pretty big segment. That’s what Gfycat focuses on, and the company says it has 180 million monthly active users, which is up from 130 million monthly active users in October last year. The service has more than 500 million page views every month, Rabbat said.

There are two changes that are coming with this update: first, there will be a direct home for gaming highlights on Gfycat, where users can follow creators in that area; second, the time limit for Gfycat clips is growing to around 60 seconds instead of just 15, which is a soft change the company made in the past few months. Both are geared toward making content more shareable in order to grab those highlights, which might not just fall into 15 second buckets. Down the line, the company will start working on subscribing to specific channel.

“A lot of gaming moments are created in 10 or 15 seconds,” Rabbat said. “Some of the gamers have been asking us for a longer period. We moved from 15 seconds to 60 seconds so people can share exciting experiences that take a little more time. GIFs are not only just a moment but also it’s a bit of storytelling. We wanted people to have the ability to do that storytelling.”

GIFs are already a big market, and there has even been some activity from the major players looking to dive further into that type of content. Earlier this month, Google acquired Tenor, a GIF platform that has its own keyboard and integrates with a variety of messenger services — even ones like LinkedIn. That a tool like Tenor or Giphy has grown to encompass all those messaging tools is just a further example of how much of an opportunity platforms centered around GIFs have.

The short-form video clips, as Gfycat likes to label them, are a good form factor for compressing a lot of information into a unit of content that’s easy to share among friends or an audience on the Internet. Rather than just sending a text message, a GIF can convey some element of emotion alongside just the typical information or response some user is trying to achieve. That’s led to a big boom for those companies, with Tenor hitting 12 billion GIF searches every month as an example.

Source link

Instagram reenables GIF sharing after GIPHY promises no more racism – TechCrunch

A racial slur GIF slipped into GIPHY’s sticker library earlier this month, prompting Instagram and Snapchat to drop their GIPHY integrations. Now Instagram is reactivating after GIPHY confirmed its reviewed its GIF library four times and will preemptively review any new GIFs it adds. Snapchat said it had nothing to share right now about whether it’s going to reactivate GIPHY.

“We’ve been in close contact with GIPHY throughout this process and we’re confident that they have put measures in place to ensure that Instagram users have a good experience” an Instagram spokesperson told TechCrunch. GIPHY told TechCrunch in a statement that “To anyone who was affected: we’re sorry. We take full responsibility for this recent event and under no circumstances does
GIPHY condone or support this kind of content . . . We have also finished a full investigation into our content moderations systems and processes and have made specific changes to our process to ensure soemthing like this does not happen again.”

We first reported Instagram was building a GIPHY integration back in January before it launched a week later, with Snapchat adding a similar feature in February. But it wasn’t long before things went wrong. First spotted by a user in the U.K. around March 8th, the GIF included a racial slur. We’ve shared a censored version of the image below, but warning, it still includes graphic content that may be offensive to some users.

When asked, Snapchat told TechCrunch ““We have removed GIPHY from our application until we can be assured that this will never happen again.” Instagram wasn’t aware that the racist GIF was available in its GIPHY integration until informed by TechCrunch, leading to a shut down of the feature within an hour. An Instagram spokesperson told TechCrunch “This type of content has no place on Instagram.” After 12 hours of silence, GIPHY responded the next morning, telling us “After investigation of the incident, this sticker was available due to a bug in our content moderation filters specifically affecting GIF stickers.”

The fiasco highlights the risks of major platforms working with third-party developers to brings outside and crowdsourced content into their apps. Snapchat historically resisted working with established developers, but recently has struck more partnerships particularly around augmented reality lenses and marketing service providers. While it’s an easy way to provide more entertainment and creative expression tools, developer integrations also force companies to rely on the quality and safety of things they don’t fully control. As Instagram and Snapchat race for users around the world, they’ll have to weigh the risks and rewards of letting developers into their gardens.

GIPHY’s full statement is below.

CHANGES TO GIPHY’S STICKER MODERATION
Before we get into the details, we wanted to take a moment and sincerely apologize for the
deeply offensive sticker discovered by a user on March 8, 2018. To anyone who was affected:
we’re sorry. We take full responsibility for this recent event and under no circumstances does
GIPHY condone or support this kind of content.
The content was immediately removed and after investigation a bug was found in our content
moderation filters affecting stickers. This bug was immediately fixed and all stickers were re-
moderated.
We have also finished a full investigation into our content moderation systems and processes
and have made specific changes to our process to ensure something like this does not happen
again.

THE CHANGES
After fixing the bug in our content moderation filters and confirming that the sticker was
successfully detected, we re-moderated our entire sticker library 4x.
We have also added another level of GIPHY moderation before each sticker is approved into
the library. This is now a permanent addition to our moderation process.
We hope this will ensure that GIPHY stickers will always be fun and safe no matter where you
see them.

THE FUTURE AND BEYOND
GIFs and Stickers are supposed to make the Internet a better, more entertaining place.
GIPHY is committed to making sure that’s always the case. As GIPHY continues to grow, we’re
going to continue looking for ways to improve our user experience. Please let us know how we
can help at: support@giphy.com.
Team Giphy.

 

Source link

Google is acquiring GIF platform Tenor – TechCrunch

Google will be acquiring Tenor, which powers a variety of GIF keyboards on phones and messengers like Facebook Messenger, the companies announced today.

Tenor will continue to operate as a separate brand within Google, the company said in a blog post. Tenor has increasingly positioned itself as a search company, using that as a metric for engagement and success as users tap into a massive database of GIFs. The company said it has more than 12 billion searches every month, and is one of the first major exits for a small but relatively hot space around tools that allow users to easily share GIFs. The company works with advertisers to create sponsored GIFs that slot into its searches, which are usually pretty compact and offer an opportunity to generate a lot of engagement.

GIFs have increasingly been pretty interesting because they offer an opportunity to compress a lot of information into something that’s easily shareable. Tenor CEO David McIntosh will often say that the company is about conveying emotion — and really, that isn’t something that often goes very well over text. If you’re watching the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, you’re probably better off searching for a GIF of your team rather than just blasting a text message to your group of friends.

“With their deep library of content, Tenor surfaces the right GIFs in the moment so you can find the one that matches your mood,” Google Images director of engineering Cathy Edwards said. “Tenor will help us do this more effectively in Google Images as well as other products that use GIFs, like Gboard. Tenor will continue to operate as a separate brand, and we’re looking forward to investing in their technology and relationships with content and API partners. So whether you’re using the Tenor keyboard or one of our other products, you can expect to see much more of this in your future:”

When you open Tenor, you’ll only find a small slice of GIFs that are available as the company is looking to compress the amount of time you actually spending digging around for a GIF you want to share. The theory is that if it’s easier to find and share one, you’ll do it again and again. This isn’t dissimilar from Google’s approach either, offering itself as a utility that’s a quick get-in, get-out experience that builds a level of stickiness that’s hard to unseat. Google is, of course, worth hundreds of billions of dollars off the back of a massive advertising business that basically prints money.

Tenor isn’t the only one in the space. Giphy, for example, also has a GIF keyboard and has a pretty large database of GIFs. Giphy says it has 300 million daily active users, though depending on who you talk to in the Valley that can mean a couple different things. Nevertheless, all of these companies have been able to attract venture financing. There’s also Gfycat, which positions itself as a tool for creators, that says it has 130 million monthly active users.

The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. But by positioning itself as a search company that slots into a messaging ecosystem, Tenor seems like a natural piece of the puzzle for Google. It also gives the company a small wedge into the messenger space as it’ll have an opportunity to touch all the platforms that are connected to Tenor like even Facebook messenger, though that one tends to flip between GIF platforms indiscriminately.

Source link

Gfycat looks to be a hub of content for AR experience development – TechCrunch

If all goes well, some GIF creators may start seeing their GIFs show up in augmented reality experiences, based on a new deal that’s happening with Gfycat this morning.

Gfycat said it would be working with a company called Metaverse that, like many tools of its kind, is looking to make it easier to build applications in a more plug-and-play matter — this time for building augmented reality apps. Gfycat has more than 130 million monthly active users and in particular gears its tools toward creators, and this could be another step in helping those creators get their content out to the masses as activity in augmented reality starts to continue to pick up. It’s certainly not that pretty right now, but these small agreements can sometimes be the start of increasingly robust toolsets for developers.

To be sure, there’s a number of caveats. The most obvious one is that the GIFs created by those creators have to have a transparent background. After all, it would be weird for them to show up in the real world with a weird kind of background that blocks off the rest of reality and kind of sack the whole “augmented reality” concept. But at the same time, it does start to offer a kind of pseudo-home for creators that are looking to crack into AR as well as also offering developers looking to build games or other apps and opportunity to have easy access to content to get started.

We’ve seen from the explosion of games like Pokémon Go and others that augmented reality games are increasingly going to be A Thing. Niantic may have created a pivotal use case for that with a strong brand, but while looking a bit janky right now, it’s possible that a simple game developer might figure out some niche use case in AR that will actually blow up. That starts with having access to good content, and something like this would help get them started.

All this might be completely moot if Apple and others roll out an increasingly simple interface for AR app development like more robust tools in ARkit, where developers would just sidestep platforms like Metaverse in order to just build their own interfaces. But having a hub of content to start from is also an important step in figuring out where to even begin.

The GIF space is increasingly blowing up. We’ve already talked about how a bunch of these major platforms are continuing to grow with Giphy saying it has 300 million daily active users. Tenor, another GIF platform, meanwhile nets around 12 billion searches a month for its own GIFs.

Source link

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, held talks to raise a 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 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. In the end, Giphy may have not have gone with financing at all, and for the time being, we’re hearing that nothing is imminent. 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 easily 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.

Source link

Snapchat and Instagram remove Giphy feature due to racial slur GIF

Snapchat and Instagram have temporarily removed their Giphy GIF sticker features after users saw an extremely racist GIF as an option to add to their images. Snapchat confirms to TechCrunch “As soon as we were made aware, we removed the GIF and have disabled Giphy until we can be sure that this won’t happen again . . . while we wait for Giphy’s team to take a look at it.”

A source tells TechCrunch the same racist GIF was spotted in Instagram as well, indicating that Giphy is at fault. A tweet by Lyauna Augmon shows the GIF being used within Instagram. Giphy appears to have removed the GIF as it’s no longer available in Instagram. An Instagram spokesperson tells TechCrunch “This type of content has no place on Instagram. We have stopped our integration with Giphy as they investigate the issue.” The company confirms the change has been made but might take some time to propagate to all users.

[Update: This article has been updated to show that the GIF also appeared on Instagram, not just Snapchat.]

The Snapchat spokesperson says that all GIFs in Snapchat are meant to be “rated PG,” meaning they’re mostly suitable for the 13-and-up teens that are technically allowed on Snapchat.

The GIF includes disturbing text including a racial slur, which TechCrunch has blurred out below. It reads “N—– Crime Death Counter – Keep Cranking Bonzo, the Numbers Just Keep on Climbing!” TechCrunch received a screenshot of the GIF on Snapchat from a reader. Warning: The image below may be disturbing to some:

Snapchat’s official statement is “We have removed GIPHY from our application until we can be assured that this will never happen again.” A Snapchat spokesperson tells me the company is very sorry. The Giphy community guidelines prohibit this kind of objectionable content in the first place, but since it works like a search engine that indexes the top GIFs on the web, things can slip through.

Here’s the version spotted on Instagram, censored by TechCrunch:

We’ve reached out to Giphy for comment but haven’t heard back.

Snapchat only launched the Giphy integration on February 20th so people could jazz up their photos and videos with moving images curated as safe by the Giphy team. TechCrunch broke the news on Instagram building a similar Giphy integration in late January, which launched a week later.

This isn’t Snapchat’s first run-in with racist content. Back in 2016 it was heavily criticized for creating an Asian “yellowface” stereotype augmented reality lens that gave people slanted eyes. Snapchat risks an unsavory reputation if it can’t keep its content under control. The slip-up could deter Snapchat from working more with outside developers, which it’s only recently allowed to bring content into its app via its Lens Studio and the Giphy integration.

The incident is embarrassing for Instagram’s parent company Facebook. It also casts doubt on Facebook’s Messenger Kids app, which also has Giphy integration that is only supposed to show G-rated imagery.

Snapchat and Instagram will have to decide whether they want help from outsiders even if it can’t guarantee the quality or safety of their content, or whether it will go it alone as they compete against each other.

http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jshttp://platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

Source link

Tenor hits 12B searches in its GIF keyboard every month

David McIntosh’s startup Tenor builds a GIF keyboard — but he actually hopes you’ll spend as little time searching on it as possible.

Instead, Tenor’s aim has been to collapse the amount of time it takes for you to find a GIF you like and send it to a friend. Instead of trying to get people to come to the service and kind browse around on the keyboard or a different website, Tenor’s goal has been to figure out what you are trying to say in some kind of a GIF and get it out the door as quickly as possible. And with that approach, Tenor says its users now search for GIFs on its keyboard more than 400 million times a day and 12 billion times a month.

“It comes down to search, fundamentally we’re a search product, unlike Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Snap,” Tenor CEO David McIntosh said. “They succeed by grabbing more minutes, our success is getting you the right thing faster. Can we take that 25 second session time and make it 20 seconds, or even 15 or 10. There’s a viral loop in place where every time you make search a little better it’s faster.”

This more or less dovetails with an approach for some companies that are focusing on pitching engagement instead of a raw active user metric. Snap, for example, has stressed to investors that it is getting people to come back to the service more and more and spend more time on it. It’s roughly the same principle in terms of using Tenor, which McIntosh says is more of a search engine than an actual hub or portal. Basically, you want to communicate what you want to tell a friend in as little words as possible — except with something silly from Friends. Tenor works across a number of platforms, but now its sights have shifted abroad.

That might even be more true as Tenor begins to expand internationally, planting people on the ground to figure out what localized versions of the service look like. One of the appeals of GIFs is that it can compress a ton of information (McIntosh refers to it as “emotion”) into a short semi-video object in a messenger screen rather than having to type out a bunch of text. As it expands to more and more countries, Tenor is able to start picking off that low hanging fruit, as making small tweaks in certain regions can lead to dramatic improvements in engagement and usage, McIntosh said.

“Western content is so heavily exported all over the world that these things have almost become globally recognized object,” McIntosh said. “Often western content with a local caption will perform better. Sometimes the local content performs better. You gotta have the right set of search data, share data, community uploads, it’s the combination of all of them. It’s kind of like chicken and egg problem, it’s a slow grind until a spark happen — you’re guessing what’s gonna work. Once the flywheel is spinning really quickly you have so much data.”

It’s also begun running its first partner campaigns internationally as it’s started to expand, with the idea that it can go to potential advertisers and tell them that because people use the keyboard so much they’ll actually share that content. That includes campaigns with companies in even India and Germany. The whole goal is to, again, figure out how to get the right GIF in front of the right person in those couple of slots when they open the app and actually want to share it.

There is, of course, a data component to that problem as well. But with 12 billion searches every month, Tenor can start slightly tweaking each search to figure out what a person is looking for based on a wider array of parameters — and maybe figure out how to get that Tom Brady strip-sack in the expiring minutes of the Super Bowl this year in front of people more quickly. Two months ago, Tenor says it had 10 billion monthly searches monthly (around 330 million daily).

It might sound a little ridiculous now, but in retrospect there’s been a blossoming ecosystem around both creator tools for GIFs as well as ones for sharing them in messenger products or the web. Gfycat, which targets creators with more robust tools, says it has 130 million monthly active users, while Giphy says it has 300 million daily active users. Either way, it means that there is both a lot of competition and a lot of interest in this space — including venture financing.

Source link