Perennially popular GIF search engine Giphy is rolling out a deeper integration with iPhone keyboards today, along with a new tool for making stickers.
The new features, according to Giphy, were enabled in part by its acquisition of TapSlash in January of this year. TapSlash once developed an iOS keyboard called Slash, which was basically a mobile search engine that made it easy to share content without switching apps. The New York-based startup had received around $1.4 million in funding, according to Crunchbase data, with none other than Giphy CEO Alex Chung investing as part of a 2015 seed round that included Techstars and Betaworks (which, as it happens, was also an early investor in Giphy).
As a result of the acquisition, which is being announced for the first time today, TapSlash’s five-person team joined Giphy, with TapSlash CEO Cem Kozinoglu heading up Giphy’s mobile app division. And TapSlash itself has been wound down, with its website now redirecting to Giphy.
It’s worth noting here that Giphy is already integrated into a number of third-party messaging apps — for example, Instagram recently rolled out a Giphy integration to let people send GIFs to friends in private messages. But with the Giphy keyboard extension, it takes just a couple of taps on the keyboard to access Giphy’s gargantuan arsenal of GIFs inside any app that supports multimedia messaging.
As a side note, Giphy actually launched a standalone GIF-infused keyboard app for iOS called Giphy Keys back in 2016; however, that seems to have disappeared from the App Store — we’ll update here if or when we hear back from Giphy on the matter.
Once you’ve updated to the new Giphy app, you will be asked to add Giphy as a new keyboard in your device settings. Then you can tap the little globe icon on your keyboard and switch the language to “Giphy” whenever you want to search for a new GIF. But you will have to switch back to your normal language settings when you want to continue a regular word-based conversation with friends.
In the second new feature today, those with iPhone X models and above will now be able to create their own animated stickers using the Giphy keyboard extension, or inside the Giphy app itself using the Giphy sticker maker. To access this feature, hit the “add GIF” button, toggle to “sticker,” and then record whatever you want to turn into a sticker. This can be added to your own Giphy account to use wherever you want.
The GIF that keeps on giving
The humble GIF has been thriving over the more than three decades since it was first introduced. This has been partially due to the rise of mobile messaging — why bother expressing an emotion in words when you can send a colorful looping video instead?
Back in March, Google acquired GIF search platform Tenor, which had raised more than $30 million in funding. And Giphy itself has raised north of $150 million in funding since its inception in 2013, with big-name backers including GV, the venture arm of Google’s parent company Alphabet, DFJ, and Lightspeed.