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Facebook sprinkles GIFs everywhere with Giphy

Engadget UK logo Engadget UK 19/04/2017 Roberto Baldwin

© Provided by Engadget UK Facebook is bloated. It's slowly morphing into the iTunes of the social media world. At F8, the company's annual developer's conference, the company added features to its core apps and announced many more are on the way. But, there was one partnership that'll make the increasingly confusing social network a bit more fun: Giphy in nearly everything.

The GIF-based company now has its hooks in Facebook Live, Camera and Messenger on iOS and Android. While the social network continues to chase Snapchat with AR and 3D elements, the addition of Giphy not only adds a bit of whimsy but a treasure trove of animated images at your fingertips.

In addition to Giphy's face tracking and augmented reality tech (which at this point nearly every service has) the company has one of the deepest libraries of GIFs on the web. That's what's really going to set it apart when you're looking to add something fun to your Facebook Live stream. That is, if you're cool with it looking like a news broadcast. Which I am.

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The Facebook Live Giphy feature puts you in a virtual newsroom with trending hashtags for GIFs that you can tap and "report on." Look at me I'm Kent Brockman! What's more fun is that viewers can comment with hashtags and the broadcaster can choose of those to add those to their video. It's an interactive GIF party and it's all live.

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The Facebook Camera integration is a bit less exciting. It adds thought bubbles above people that can be filled with GIFs from eight different topics (Trending, Heart it, Hungry, Dreaming, Yay, Sad face, Huh and Cute critters). Individual images that load into the bubble are dismissed either by tapping the screen or shaking your head. A nod generates a rain of elements (like paws and stars) based on the image.

The resulting GIFs generated by the feature can also be added to the mostly neglected Facebook Stories feature, or downloaded to the user's camera roll. "When you create content you're not always thinking 'this is just for my Instagram friends.' Companies want you to think like that, but we don't. We're people with real relationships in the real world that bridge those barriers. So there is a download button before you share it, which is nice" Giphy design director Ralph Bishop said.

The same can be done with the GIFs sent via Messenger. Send an image, or download it to your phone. It's a nice break from Facebook's siloed experience and makes the Giphy integration just that much better.

Of course, there's a chance that the bloat will make it difficult to for some users to even find the the little gems, like this Giphy implementation, that keep being added. I suppose when you're trying to overtake Twitter, Snapchat and a string of doomed flash-in-the-pan social networks you need to add absolutely feature to your service. Or maybe you don't. Either way, Facebook is going to find out.

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