Since the launch of iOS 8 last week, there’s been a huge run on custom keyboards in the App Store. That includes the likes of Swype, Fleksy and SwiftKey, all of which have been designed to help users more quickly type and share what they are thinking.
But what if they want to share what they are feeling? For that, there’s no better tool than the animated GIF. And now, thanks to a company called Riffsy, you can quickly and easily search for, discover and share a wide variety of animated GIFs directly from your keyboard.
Arriving today on iOS, Riffsy GIF Keyboard can be installed alongside all your other keyboards to send out funny animated GIFs via SMS, Twitter, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp in the same way you would send a text.
The app leverages a collection of millions of GIFs that the company’s users have created or shared with the Riffsy Creator app over the past year. And because those GIFs are usually tagged and identified with specific hashtags like #HAPPY, #EXCITED, or #LOL, it’s easy to find an image that suits your needs.
When you first enter the keyboard, it highlights a number of different hashtags that will fit most occasions. You click through to view images under each description, find the one you want, and tap on it. Once that’s done, you’ll have the option of copying the GIF, copying a video, grabbing a link to the GIF, or saving it to your camera roll.
To send as an SMS, you simply copy the GIF, click on the text entry field, choose to paste the image, click send and away it goes. You’ve now brought a smile to the face of whomever you’re texting with.
Users can browse all the various hashtags that are pre-populated on the keyboard’s home screen, view those that are trending, or search for specific images. The keyboard also keeps track of all the GIFs you send and re-send, making them readily accessible in a favorites tab.
In addition to choosing from GIFs that Riffsy users have collected over the past year, you can also add your own, thanks to the wonders of iOS 8’s new app extensions. By enabling the GIF keyboard extension in Safari, users can grab animated GIFs from Reddit, BuzzFeed, Imgur or wherever they may find them and easily add them to their collection.
I’ve been using a beta version of the app for several weeks now, and can easily say it’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to my SMS conversations with friends. Now that iOS 8 is out and they can download the GIF Keyboard themselves, I can’t wait to never have to enter text to communicate with them ever again.