Earlier this week, some Pinterest users noticed that the company was experimenting with support for animated GIFs on its site – the popular, moving images that, until recently, defaulted to static photos when pinned. Today, Pinterest says that it’s rolling out support for GIFs to all pinners on the web, with mobile support expected “soon.”
According to the company, around 1 million users see a GIF on Pinterest every day, and there are already 10 million GIF images across the site. These pins will retroactively become animated GIFs, it seems.
Going forward, when you pin a GIF to Pinterest, a “play” and “pause” button will appear in the lower left-hand corner of the pin itself, Pinterest explains.
That doesn’t mean you’re in charge of determining whether your pin will be animated or not when you post – instead, the play button is visible on the GIFs found in Pinterest’s main feed, category feeds, and search results pages. In other words, Pinterest is keeping the look-and-feel of its site the same as before (meaning, static images), but now you at least have the option of clicking play to see the GIF right on Pinterest, instead of clicking through to the site where it’s hosted.
GIFs have been popular on the web for some time, but until now, Tumblr has been the social service best known for GIF sharing. With Pinterest’s support, that could change. (Especially with Tumblr traffic looking flat these days.)
Meanwhile, Facebook has rolled out autoplay videos, which some suspect may be a precursor to animated GIF support. But while the social network could technically enable GIFs at any time, it may not have wanted to dilute the experience with the busy, and sometimes bothersome, images.
Pinterest, however, seems to have found a nice middle ground.