GIFs are a popular thing. So popular that the Internet is full of animated GIFs both good and bad. Millions of people watch and created these animations regularly, and there's no disputing the fact that GIFs are now a part of life. So, it makes sense that social networks would allow animated GIF posts, right?
Even though Twitter banned GIFs last year, Google is heading in a different direction. Yesterday, Google made a small and quiet announcement that Google Plus will now support animated GIFs uploaded by users. In addition to GIF support, Google also made some G+ app changes.
New G+ Features
Do you love the way you look when you move? Why not make your Google Plus profile picture an animated GIF? You can do that now with G+. When viewing your profile, other users will only see your profile pic as a still photo when viewing your profile, but it will come to life when the photo is moused over. You can also add a GIF to any post, so go ahead and share that cat GIF with your friends.
Google has also made sharing and posting GIFs possible with G+ mobile apps. The latest Google Plus features come directly after Google implemented a specific Google search filter for animated GIFs. Why is Google spending so much time trying to prove the company's support for GIFs?
Because Facebook and Twitter don't support this format. Google sees an opportunity to bring people to Google Plus through the allowance of GIFs, and this tactic just might work. Then again, Google Plus is still one of the least popular social networks, so Google's energy might be wasted.
Additional App Features
Google has also updated G+ features for both iOS and Android. iOS users can now take advantage of photo filters (thanks to Google's acquisition of Snapseed). Android users will see some activity stream updates including easier access to +1 comments and sharing. Both iOS and Android users can now take advantage of location sharing information too. Locations can be shared with select circles.
Various features have been added to Google Plus communities too, which can all be found when logging into an Android or iOS Google Plus app. Is all of this enough to revive the somewhat stagnant Google Plus, though? At the moment, Google Plus is something of a ghost town. Sure, some people love to use Google Plus regularly, but that's a small and select community of users. For the most part, G+ still lags behind Facebook and Twitter.
The aforementioned Google Plus updates are currently available for both iOS and Android users. In addition, the G+ web updates mentioned are currently enabled. If you don't use Google Plus, you may just find that being able to add GIFs to a social profile is fun.
Or, you might be driven running and screaming away from Google Plus by the influx of terrible GIFs that are bound to pop up. Either way, one thing is for certain: Google is embracing (instead of avoiding) the GIF craze.