Happy 25th Birthday, GIF. 25 years ago (on last Friday) the Graphics Interchange Format was released, and the world has never been the same again. The GIF was originally released by CompuServe to replace RLE – a file format which was limited to black and white only. But the GIF evolved over the next 25 years – first gaining color, then better color, then the ability to repeat itself. The powers of GIF has been used for good and bad in online media.