Twitter is adding GIF search to its tweet composer and direct messages, a move that will likely result in a signficant increase of moving images shared on its platform.
GIFs, lightweight and often very expressive, are now part of mainstream internet culture after years of living on the fringe. The images are particularly useful within the context of messaging apps and social platforms like Twitter, where they can replace long-winded text rants with a moving image that gets the job done. More than 100 million GIFS were shared on Twitter last year, according to a company blog post.
"if you’re looking for the perfect cat yawn or dance move to express exactly how you feel, just click the new GIF button," Twitter said in the post.
Twitter is rolling the feature out today and said it will be available globally across web, iOS, and Android in the "coming weeks." The company is adding the feature thanks to integrations with GIF search engine Giphy and GIF keyboard outfit Riffsy.
GIFs are now big business. Giphy, one Twitter partner that offers GIF search and already integrates with platforms such as Facebook Messenger and Slack, is valued at $300 million after a $55 million funding round announced Tuesday.
And GIFs are important to Twitter's business as well. The company is already preparing advertisers for ad products built around them, according to one report.