The full form of gif is Graphics Interchange Format which is an image compression format limited to 256 colors without loss of quality. The GIF type files were developed by Steve Whilhite while working at CompuServe.
They use a data compression algorithm that is also patented by LTZ. It is considered that this type of files is better for graphic images instead of the JPEG that is better for photographs.
The innovations of the GIF are based on the fact that an image of this type can contain between 200 and 256 colors of its palette that has 16.8 million colors.
Previous to this creation the images with movement could not support as many colors and were generally developed in the palette of white, black and gray colors.
On the other hand, since the palette of these has a number of limited colors. The images are usually smaller than in PNG format. GIFs have been given mainly for banner ads but now its usefulness is the display of animated images for web pages.
In its beginning, the GIFs became popular as Netscape allowed them to be seen. It is very probable that if Netscape had not accepted this new type of images in 1998, it would never have prospered, and Compuserve would not have been bought by AOL in 1998.
Since this is the only format supported by most browsers that allow this effect. It should be noted that the animation of this type of images can only be displayed in certain types of applications or programs. Such as powerpoint presentations, or web pages such as Facebook. But, on the contrary, calculation pages or text documents these images lose their animation.
How The Gif Survived
The GIF was in danger of ceasing to exist at the beginning of the 2000s due to the incursion within the technological field of the new time FLASH technology. A software that allowed the creation of animated images to which sound could also be added.
It was not until 2003 that the LTZ patent expired in the United States, owner of the compression algorithm used by the GIFs, that the companies or software that created GIFs stopped paying royalties.
What revived the GIF were the proliferation of tablets and smartphones, which allowed to reproduce GIF but not images in FLASH. And it was finished confirming its revitalization in 2012 where it was recognized by the Oxford dictionary as the word of the year.
Gif Became Poular On Social Networks
Currently and through websites such as GIPHY and others less popular, allows the creation of GIF by users from new drawings or also the creation of GIF from videos, obtaining an explosion of popularity in them.
At present, GIFs have become more relevant through the expansion of social networks. It began with its inclusion in the Facebook website and in its internal chat.
And then in 2016 with its use on Instagram that revitalized this type of images with movement in its more than 700 million users.
This incursion was also beneficial for Instagram because for a few weeks these GIFs were banned in their stories due to having some improper GIFs (of those created by users) but in the face of a massive claim from their users they had to re-accept their use.