12 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About GIFs

With GIFs, obviously

1. GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format.

2. It was created by CompuServe in 1987.

Sony Picture Classics / Via rebloggy.com

3. The initial identifier for a .GIF file was “.gif87a.” The 87a refers to the year and the version.

4. Animation capabilities were added to the .GIF two years later in version 89a.

Disney / Via giphy.com

5. In the early days of the internet, .GIFs were used as a faster alternative to videos, which would have required hours of buffering to load.

6. The use of the .GIF file was initially restricted due to patent claims by Unisys and IBM, which had developed a key algorithm for creating GIFs, the LZW compression algorithm, in 1983.

7. The patents expired approximately 10 years ago, in 2003 for the US and 2004 for Europe and other territories.

Universal / Via reactiongifs.com

8. Steve Wilhite, creator of the GIF at CompuServe, pronounces “GIF” with a soft ‘G’ (as in Georgia).

9. The CompuServe staff have created a slogan based off of Jif Peanut Butter; “Choosy Developers Choose GIF.”

10. A survey by the Los Angeles Times estimates that over 60% of people pronounce “GIF” with a hard “G.”

Warner Bros. / Via giphy.com

11. “GIF” was the US Oxford University Press’s word of the year.

Fox / Via giphy.com

12. It is recognized as both a noun and a verb. “To GIF” something being to put it in .GIF format.

Cartoon Network / Via coub.com

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