The GIF Turns 30: How an Ancient Format Changed the Internet | WIRED

Wilhite finished the first version of the GIF specification on May, 1987.  Compuserve began using the format the next month. This was two years before Sir Tim Berners-Lee announced his World Wide Web project and six years before the Mosiac browser made the web widely accessible. It was the web that made the GIF what it is today.

The GIF was perfect for displaying logos, line art, and charts on the web. The file format also became the center of one of the web’s first patent disputes in 1994. The animated GIF epidemic ended about as quickly as it started.
The web’s other major image format, the JPEG, was under development at the time.


  1. maryjane says:

    great information.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Facebook celebrates the GIF’s 30th birthday by making the format usable in comments

    Happy birthday to the GIF! The venerable file format turns 30 today, and Facebook is taking the opportunity to add a few GIF-related features to its service. Users could already post GIFs in status updates, but from June 15th, you’ll now be able to add GIFs in Facebook comments, allowing you to search through and select from a list of relevant files right there in the social network’s interface.

    Facebook is also using the day to salute the surprisingly resilient format, throwing what it calls a “GIF party,” and offering statistics on its existing GIF usage. More than 13 billion GIFs were sent last year via Facebook Messenger, it says, after the company made the format usable on the chat service.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *