GIPHY is the Pandora’s box of the GIF-verse. The search engine’s probably responsible for unleashing all those dancing vector cats and glittery text animations you see everywhere on the internet.
Led by Alex Chung and Jace Cook, the Betaworks-backed company started its journey two years ago. Now the largest GIF API on the web helps over 55 million users describe in moving pictures what words can’t: for example, beloved scenes from “The Office” and flying dolphins to express joy.
But GIPHY wasn’t done. Its creative, editorial, engineering teams and more joined heads to hammer out a new product, and the result is now here: GIPHY CAM.
(The GIPHY team, above, which has since grown)
This photobooth app of sorts lets people navigate a swirl of flying tacos, mustaches, and “make it rain” hands, adding their faces to the madness before sending their quirky creations to their friends on social media.
“We’ve got a whole tech staff, partner teams, original content creation with artists, distribution through API. The piece of the puzzle missing was allowing users to add themselves to the conversation,” GIPHY COO Adam Leibsohn, told Business Insider. “
We wanted to move into the mobile world and keep that kind of ethos and make these GIFs work with your daily conversations.”
As soon as you download GIPHY CAM and transport yourself to the app, you’ll be taken to a recording camera. Under it, you’ll see nine filters and a bunch of features that you won’t find on Instagram: some give you retractable fangs, and others make you look like you’re underwater.
Simply hold down the record button, and the magic begins — or simply tap it once, and the camera takes pictures in bursts and strings them together to create a GIF.
Where does GIPHY’s art and content come from? According to Leibsohn, a lot of it is funneled through GIPHY partnerships with hundreds of content producers all over the world like studios, music labels, and TV networks such as Fox News.
GIPHY updates its web engine in real time. After the Teen Choice Awards last week, the site was crowded with gifs of surfboard-carrying celebrities accepting awards.
As GIPHY CAM rolls out and gets more popular, it might similarly refresh itself with current events and even user-generated content à la Snapchat geotag — but that’s looking far ahead into the future, said Julie Logan, GIPHY’s Director of Brand Strategy.
“GIFs are ubiquitous. That’s why GIPHY CAM is so powerful and strong, because it works everywhere,” Leibsohn said. “We’re really glad to finish off the masterpiece that is the number one gif spot in the gif world.”
The team has also bolted GIPHY CAM TV to the site, a page that features a slew of creations that people have made with the app.
Here are some snazzy GIPHY CAM creations from the office:
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