ICYMI: Is Imgur reinventing the loop?

Columnist Ellie Papadakis talks about Imgur’s new animated image format.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a column that talked about grammar and communication online. In it, I briefly mentioned GIFs as the Internet’s favorite form of visual communication — or, at least, my favorite form of communication.

Here’s a fun fact: one of the first GIFs on the Internet is a 3-D cartoon of a dancing baby.

Also, it’s pronounced “jif,” like the peanut butter.

But I’m letting passion get in the way of my point. Recently, the image-sharing website Imgur announced Project GIFV.

The site states it will take files in the .gif format and convert them to .mp4, a file format that usually signifies a video, thus creating GIF video, or GIFV.

Apparently, this will allow for higher-quality looping GIFs that also load faster and take up less bandwidth, especially on mobile devices.

You know, for those times that you need to express how stressed you are about that Chemistry test in 1080p.

Imgur also states that this new format will be optimized for social media sites. While .gif has been a compatible image format on Twitter for a while now, Facebook has yet to realize the Internet’s dependence on animation, so maybe with this new extension, the Zuck will finally figure it out.

However, there may be a couple problems with Imgur’s plan. That is, if it takes off like they hope it will.

The GIF extension has been around since the 1990s, so it’s probably fair to say that the technology is a little outdated. On the other hand, it’s going to take a while for .gifv to catch on to other websites. For now, most people who want to use a .gifv image will most likely have to embed it as a video, which kind of defeats the purpose.

Also, the basic definition of a GIF is a looping animation with no sound. And as of right now, the Internet loves the acceptably crummy quality of most GIFs anyway.

If Imgur combines MP4s and GIFs, isn’t GIFV just a Vine with no sound? Arguably, unlike Vines, you can add text to GIFVs, so at least there’s that.

Still, part of me doubts that it’s going to take off. Sometimes I feel like the Internet’s mentality for most things is, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

Finally, and probably least importantly, how do you pronounce GIFV? Is it “jif-vee” or “gif-vee?” Will it even enter the Internet lexicon, or will we continue to just call everything a GIF for old time’s sake?

I don’t know if I’m ready to add more fuel to the fire of file format pronunciation, but just in case, I’m pronouncing it “jif-vee.”

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