Google snaps up Tenor as GIF searches explode

GIF sharing online is booming and Google is keen to get in on the action.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Google has announced the acquisition of Tenor in light of the rapid increase in GIF sharing across the web.

Static images, memes, and now animated images -- most often found in the .GIF format for online sharing -- are being exchanged across social media every day by users in their millions.

As users search for this kind of content more often, Google Images is one of many search engines used to find animated images, and with the GIF trend in full swing, Google is willing to adapt the service to cater for user demands.

The tech giant revealed the acquisition in a blog post on Tuesday. However, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tenor is a search platform and library that specializes in GIFs. In 2015, Tenor launched a GIF keyboard to help users "express any emotion" through the file format.

However, the company's value has been centered on GIF searches and as a GIF-sharing app provider. The company counts Facebook and Samsung among its partners and passed 12 billion search requests monthly this year.

Since being founded in 2013, the company managed to secure $32 million through three funding rounds.

"Most people now use Google Images to find more information about a topic, and to help them communicate and express themselves -- case in point, we see millions of searches for GIFs every day," said Cathy Edwards, Director of Engineering at Google Images. "We've continued to evolve Google Images to meet both of these needs, and today we're bringing GIFs more closely into the fold by acquiring Tenor, a GIF platform for Android, iOS, and desktop."

According to the executive, Tenor will continue to act as a separate brand, but Google intends to "invest in their technology and relationships with content and API partners."

See also: Google now blocks uncertified Android devices from using its core apps

Tenor CEO David McIntosh, together with co-founders Erick Hachenburg and Frank Nawabi, will continue to run the company.

"We look forward to the next leg of our journey with Google as we grow Tenor to help anyone with a mobile device visually express the full range of human emotion," McIntosh said.

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