Giphy Expands Beyond Messenger With Its New GIF-Sharing App

Giphy, the popular resource for finding and sharing GIFs, has rolled out a significant upgrade to its flagship mobile application today. The upgrade sees the app rebranded from an add-on utility for Facebook Messenger users, to a fully-featured, standalone app for finding and sharing GIFs across a number of channels, including social networks, text messages, Messenger, email and more.

As you may remember, Giphy launched its first mobile application back in March, with the debut of Giphy + Messenger – an app built on Facebook’s Messenger platform. At the time, the app was focused on allowing users to search through Giphy’s database to find a GIF which they could then share directly in the Messenger client.

The launch was able to expose Giphy to a wider audience – after all, Messenger today is typically the No. 1 or No. 2 free application on the App Store. Thanks to Messenger, the Giphy app managed to climb up nearly into the 50’s in the highly competitive “Photo & Video” category on the App Store. Its user base is now in the “tens of millions,” the company tells us.

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But with the debut of Giphy 2.0, the new app will no longer be focused solely on supporting Messenger users. Instead, the revamped (and rebranded) app now lets users share to Messenger as well as SMS, Twitter, Facebook, or email. You’re also able to save GIFs to your Camera Roll for use in other applications, or copy GIFs to your clipboard for more immediate sharing.

“We saw amazing engagement and adoption of our standalone app,” explains Giphy COO Adam Leibsohn. “People were using it in clever ways to put GIFs in more places. It just made sense for us to build this out,” he says. “…We want to help people put GIFs in the places they want to use them most: social networks, messengers, text messages, emails, etc. So a search and sharing app makes sense.”

What Giphy has not done, interestingly, is launch a dedicated iOS keyboard application. With iOS 8 and higher, Apple’s mobile operating system has supported third-party keyboards which let users do more with their iMessages and texts, including things like search for emoji and GIFs, something that’s been a popular category for these keyboard apps in the past.

Giphy, however, has taken a different approach. Instead of integrating more deeply with iOS, when you find a GIF you like, you can tap the SMS icon to start a new text with the GIF already embedded, or you can copy the GIF then switch over to the Messages app to paste it.

Giphy isn’t saying if keyboard integration is planned in the future, only hinting that there’s “more fun to come” following this release.

Another useful feature in the 2.0 release is a toggle switch for “Auto-play.” Designed to help you continue to use the app when your connection is poor, turning off auto-play will stop the GIFs from animating, which makes the app easier to use. (It’s also not a bad option if scrolling through a bunch of animated GIFs just makes you a little dizzy.)

For those with new iPhone 6s or 6s Plus devices, the updated app supports 3D Touch, allowing you to hard press on GIFs or category labels to see a preview or copy items to your clipboard, for example. You can’t use 3D Touch on the Giphy icon itself, though.

Finally, the new app features a “hamburger”-style menu at the bottom, where you can browse through curated collections like “reactions” (e.g. smile, lol, etc.), “actions” (dancing, crying), “emotions” (love, happy, etc.), “memes,” TV shows, movies, animals, stickers and more. The database today contains hundreds of millions of GIFs, making it one of the most expansive collections available today.

The revamped Giphy app is live now on the App Store. An Android version is still in development.