Google announced yesterday on Google+ (which might explain why not many people noticed until today) that Google’s Image search can now be filtered specifically for GIFs–you know, the perfect tool to depict just about any relatable reaction to life’s mundane events–furthering the animated renaissance and pushing boring old still images deeper into obscurity.
For example, here’s an assortment of GIF reactions in response to hearing that you can now search for GIFs on Google, where regular pictures just wouldn’t cut it:
You get the point, and I’m starting to see even more GIF-related procrastination in my future. To search for GIFs, just go to a new Google Image search and type in pretty much anything: a phrase, a general feeling (for the examples above, I searched ‘not bad,’ ‘I’ll take it,’ and ‘I don’t care’). After you’ve hit search, click on ‘Search Tools,’ go to ‘Any Type,’ and choose ‘Animated.’ Gone are those sad, sad days of typing ‘Honey Boo Boo GIFs’ into regular old Google Images and coming up with only a scattered few animated results.
…And that is just one gem among thousands of results. It’s too easy, especially since any widespread situation that calls for a GIF (such as Monday mornings or other people’s achievements) has probably been covered by sites like Reaction GIFs and Tumblrs What Should We Call Me and How Do I Put This Gently, meaning that their keywords and phrases translate seamlessly into a Google search.
But, this new Google feature is bad news for some start-up search engines that specialized in the GIF boom. Giphy, for instance, was launched by two New York-based designers in early February, and in one weekend, with the tagline “This is Giphy. You’re welcome,” the unique site reached 30k viewers. The homepage has a search bar at the top which gathers GIF results for any catchphrase, emotion, celebrity, and more, from ‘deal with it’ (74 results) to ‘OMG’ (133 results) to GIF queen Jennifer Lawrence (1,137 results). Still, Giphy is barely two months old, and even with 4k Likes on Facebook, their search-engine power pales in comparison to the strength of the top search engine on the web.
It’s too soon to tell how a small site like Giphy will compete, but right now, they’re probably feeling a little bit like this: