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Imgur Hops on the GIF Bandwagon With New Creation Tool

A new feature turns your online video into a GIF in about 15 seconds.

Liz Gannes

Imgur, the photo company that hosts a massive image database for its users, launched a GIF creation tool Thursday that allows people to turn any online video clip into a sharable GIF in about 15 seconds.

The GIFs are then stored on Imgur’s servers, where others can peruse and share to places like Facebook and Twitter.

Basically, Imgur thinks GIFs are a big deal. The service will be free, so the company wants to be the place you go to make and store GIFs on the Web. If you’re doing that and spending (wasting?) time looking through the company’s library, Sam Gerstenzang, Imgur’s director of product, believes the company will be able to make money from you down the road (although he’s not saying exactly how).

The company already hosts hundreds of millions of GIFs on the site, and it now wants to make it easier for people to create more.

GIFs have grown in popularity. Twitter started supporting GIFs over the summer, and Pinterest did the same earlier in the year. A startup called Blippy built a GIF keyboard for iOS 8 in the fall, and messaging startup Kik acquired a GIF startup in November to build the technology into its app.

That interest also means Imgur will have competition. There are multiple sites already in existence where you can create your own GIF, and Giphy hosts thousands that are easily searchable and shareable.

Gerstenzang thinks Imgur can do it better by offering a service with higher-quality GIFs and fewer ads on the platform.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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