Google knows what’s popular. After all, they are in the business of Internet search results. GIFs are what the people want and after implementing a specific GIF search feature into their image search page, Google has now included the use of animated GIF profile pictures on their social network site, Google+.
A Google software developer, Matt Steiner, posted the news on his Google+ page Monday, saying the feature is “our gif to you.” Animated profile GIFs can be viewed from desktop browsers and Android mobile devices.
Don’t know what a GIF is? Steiner offers a simple explanation: “like newspapers in Harry Potter :)” Don’t know what Harry Potter is? Well… you have a few things to Google.
The animated image file type (an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format) came to popularity due in part to its relatively small file size and ease in which it could be embedded into posts on forums like Reddit and blog-type pages like Tumblr. Usually extracted from video, a GIF will often be somewhere around half the framerate of film, giving the animation almost a flip-book look.
Google+ launched in the summer of 2011 as the company’s alternative to popular social networking site Facebook. The two sites have since pushed each other tit for tat, with each platform offering new features and design updates all the time. By active users, Google+ is currently the second most popular social networking site in the world behind Facebook.
Facebook does not support animated profile pictures.