Facebook today joined the 21st century. We’re not talking about some sort of futuristic addition to the world’s largest social network. We’re talking about GIFs. Really.
If you’re a heavy Facebook user then you are probably already aware that the social network has not supported GIFs throughout its life, even though the competition has done so just fine. The method of support for animated GIFs over the years has been to let users post a URL to the GIF they want everyone to see and then use that URL to popular the social media post with the GIF in question. It was nice and simple and worked like a charm.
And now it works just fine on Facebook, too.
Starting today anyone who posts the URL of an animated GIF will see the URL replaced with the GIF to which it points, animations and all. This is a pretty huge addition to Facebook, and not just for those that like to post GIFs every hour of the day. See, not all of us want to see animated cat GIFs every other post and Facebook is no different but alas, that’s probably exactly what is going to happen from now on, and we can only hope things will die down when the novelty starts to wear off.
While GIFs do tend to be used mostly for posting animations of cats doing funny things there are of course some more useful situations in which a GIF can get a message across. The current trend is to use GIFs instead of short videos when trying to show something like part of a smartphone app or portion of a game, and having Facebook support such things can only be a positive. Whether that’s the kind of thing you will see in your Facebook timeline, or whether it will be GIFs of the feline variety, depends on the people you are friends with or follow over there.
Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do to help you there.
You can follow us on Twitter, add us to your circle on Google+ or like our Facebook page to keep yourself updated on all the latest from Microsoft, Google, Apple and the web.