Google takes direct aim at GIPHY by adding shareable GIFs

Google is leveraging its acquisition of Tenor with tight integration into Image Search, making it easy for people to quickly find and share animated GIFs.

SNL Google
Kate McKinnon, SNL

Google acquired Tenor early last year and promised to bring GIFs more closely into the fold. After a year of quiet development, Google has announced deep integration of Tenor into their Image Search product.

The new Tenor integration adds native sharing support to Google’s app on iOS and Android. When you do a GIF search in Images, it now returns GIFs with a Share option at the bottom of each image.

Yelp SERPs
Tenor GIF search result from Google Image Search

Clicking on Share will initiate the native sharing functionality.

iOS Share
Sharing a Tenor GIF from Google app in iOS

All of the GIFs that I attempted to share were hosted on media.tenor.com, which was reminiscent of how GIPHY works.

https://media.tenor.com/images/b276ea4cd677ee0957d063b4b200d5d2/tenor.gif

https://media.giphy.com/media/JIX9t2j0ZTN9S/giphy.gif

Right now, the biggest difference between how images are hosted and shared is that GIPHY brands the image when you view it in a browser. It’s possible and likely that Google will end up adding the same functionality in the future.

GIPHY
GIPHY converts image links to branded pages

Google stated that the GIF-specific search is a special section of its Image Search and that it’s powered by Tenor. They gave instructions on how creators can add GIFs, which is also via Tenor.

Any content provider, GIF creator or GIF platform can submit GIFs to the new section on Google Images by either uploading GIFs to Tenor.com, or connecting with Google’s partnership team.

GIPHY’s future on Google looks bleak

As of this writing, images from GIPHY still dominate Google Search, but that may change dramatically as Google rolls out this functionality to all of its search products. It’s likely GIPHY may end up experiencing what Yelp has experienced in Google Search. Even worse, GIPHY results may disappear altogether as Google attempts to control this space on their search properties.

Lastly, I expect Google to use this new feature to eventually promote the creation and use of animated WebP images. Animated WebP images work exactly like animated GIFs but they are significantly smaller in size.