In many of its apps and communication services, Google employs animated GIF images for self-expression and conveying meaning. GIFs have become an essential part of modern messaging in society, and the search giant wants more of it. Through now, Google has helped users find GIF images from the web for easy sharing in messaging apps as well as Gboard. But now, the company is looking to take things a step further in some way we don’t yet know. For help on this project, Google has acquired Tenor, the world’s leading GIF platform on desktop and mobile.
This week, Google announced the acquisition of Tenor. At first, Tenor will help Google set GIFs in Google images and Gboard. Facebook has used Tenor in its Messenger application to let users send GIFs in the past, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens now that the platform is owned by one of Facebook’s competitors.
The primary purpose as noted on Google’s blog is to help the millions of users who search for GIFs every week. Tenor divides GIFs into categories so that users can more easily find what they’re looking for, and Google will look to do something similar in search and in its services.
For now, Tenor will operate as a separate brand. We say for now because look at what happened with Nest a few months ago. Google will provide Tenor with more content as well as partners to take advantage of the company’s API. Cathy Edwards, Director of Engineering at Google Images, wrote in the search giant’s blog post that it is developing images to meet the demand for these types of photos. She also concluded that as use of GIF images continues to evolve, Google will look for new ways to make these uses as seamless as possible for users.
Moving ahead, it’ll be interesting to see how the two benefit from collaboration now that there’s an integrated relationship. With machine learning on the rise, and Google transitioning to an “AI-first” approach, GIF integrations could be interesting. Maybe we’ll learn more about Google’s plans in May.