Procrastinate Like a Pro with Giphy

Internet forums and instant messaging would be nowhere without animated GIFs. They convey our shock, humour and disbelief, all in a series of crudely captured images — normally referencing movie scenes or TV shows. 4Chan would certainly be a much darker place, that’s for sure.

Due to the ‘Love it or Hate it’ viral voting system of the Internet, only the best GIFs are seen by millions.

Giphy is a large collection of GIFs created by a community of artists. Unlike more open communities such as Reddit, Giphy creations tend to be created from within the community as opposed to simply up-voted for popularity. Surely, the Internet has enough GIFs. Can this site offer anything we haven’t already seen?

First Impressions of Giphy

As someone who could win the world procrastination championships, I can certainly say that the GIF collection on Giphy is unlike any other. On Reddit (where most viral videos/images/GIFs either make it or fall off the face of the Earth), most of the GIFs are old and well worn out material.

Giphy artists are a breath of fresh air, using cool techniques to create their GIFs, such as hand drawn animation, camera tricks and obscure movies or foreign TV shows.

A huge collection of GIFs, categorized, trending and popular.

A huge collection of GIFs, categorized, trending and popular.

There’s also the mainstream GIFs you’d expect such as Breaking Bad memes and The Simpsons scenes. You don’t have to click into each image to view it. By simply hovering your mouse cursor over a thumbnail the GIF will load and play. If you want to download it, you have to click in to get the full resolution version.

Using Giphy

The website has some awesome categorization features. The most prominent GIFs are the reaction GIFs, used for showing our shock, agreement or disbelief on various discussion forums. Each category is denoted by an emoticon for easy navigation.

 

Popular GIFs by Topic

Popular GIFs by Topic

My favourite feature is #TrendingTags which pulls rising GIFs from around the web. After major news events, Twitter is often awash with news and memes, and these GIFs make for awesome content to share. Trends tend to last only a few hours (as is the way of the Internet) but each tag can easily have dozens of GIFs.

Giphy TV

A cool adaptation of the sites massive collection of GIFs is Giphy TV — a full screen ‘TV station’ dedicated to GIFs. Basically, you can load up the channel and have hundreds of GIFS playing in sequence. At first I thought it was an odd idea but after awhile, it feels like you’re watching a bloopers TV show at twice the normal speed. They really should rename it Procrastination Station, though.

An Open API For Developers

The great thing about Giphy is that the developers have left their API wide open and created a submission portal for apps. It’s called Giphy Labs. This is now home to dozens of different mini-games, tools and puzzles, all centered around Giphy’s collection of GIFs.

Giphy for Google Chrome

Giphy for Google Chrome

At a basic level, there is the Giphy Chrome extension which allows fast access to GIFs wherever you are on the Internet. It’s great for attaching GIFs to emails or for quick posting on Twitter or Reddit.

There is also a GIF based chat room which allows users to converse through text with an added garnish of GIFs. The growing Giphy library is wide open for use.

A GIF based memory game

A GIF based memory game

Finally, an impossibly hard memory game in which you must find matching GIFs behind hidden panels. Each board of panels is based on a popular movie franchise such as Lord of the Rings, Star Wars or Harry Potter.

Closing Thoughts

Giphy is a website with lots of promise. The API apps rock but its real strength is the growing collection of GIFs, submitted by users.

It’s still in its infancy with a small user-base so at times it can feel sparsely populated. But with cool features catered for the social media generation, and the developers who made Bit.ly behind the scenes, it won’t be long before it takes off. Overall, it’s a great way to kill some time and it’s certainly more user friendly than outdated forums or message boards.


Summary

Giphy is a growing collection of GIFs created by a bustling artistic community. Their open API has allowed for some awesome side apps and games which use the vast library of GIFs.

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