Ah, gifs. The internet's favorite way to share emotions and short clips. They've seen a considerable boost in popularity in recent years, especially on Reddit. Imgur, the major Reddit image sharing choice, hosts a majority of those gifs. Apparently they've been working on a way to make the experience better, because today they unveiled Project GIFV, an initiative to bring the iconic looping video of the GIF into the modern web and dramatically improving their quality.
"We wanted to preserve the experience of the GIF while optimizing it for all the changes that have happened on the Internet since the format was first introduced in 1987.”
The cornerstone of Project GIFV is a platform-wide upgrade to automatically convert uploaded GIF files on the fly into the MP4 video format. The converted MP4s are significantly smaller than their equivalent GIFs, which allows them to load at lightning-fast speeds with better quality. By lowering bandwidth consumption, the change also optimizes Imgur for users on mobile.
Beyond performance increases, the core experience will not change: Project GIFV implements MP4 video in a way that looks and behaves exactly like a GIF. Project GIFV also introduces three major upgrades to the GIF experience on Imgur:
Massively Increased Upload Limits: With the efficiencies introduced by MP4, Imgur is increasing its traditional GIF upload limit of 5MB by an order of magnitude to 50MB. This opens the door to massive improvements in quality – compare this 5MB GIF:
to this converted 50MB one (which we can't embed because the file type is so new).
Optimized for Social Channels: Uploads to Imgur will now fully animate on channels like Twitter and Facebook, allowing for the sharing of the full GIF experience throughout the social web.
The .GIFV Extension: With all these improvements, Imgur will now denote converted MP4s with a “.gifv” extension. The intention is to signal to users throughout the Internet that these links will feature a GIF experience that incorporates all the current and future enhancements made through Project GIFV. Imgur plans to submit an accompanying specification to relevant standards organizations before the end of the year.
For all you Redditors... tl;dr Imgur Project GIFV delivers a new and improved GIF experience that will work everywhere without a lag and will be higher quality – this means more fun and less frustration.