If you are around 30 years old, you share something personal with one of the online world’s most ubiquitous inventions. The GIF turns 30 in 2017.
1. Is the GIF really 30? Sheesh. Yep, the format was originally know as 87a, marking the year of its introduction.
2. Who invented it? Software writer Steve Wilhite invented the GIF while working at CompuServe.
3. How do you pronounce it? Although dictionaries claim either pronunciation is acceptable, the GIF’s inventor claims it is pronounced with a soft “g.” The inside joke originally was “Choosy developers choose GIF,” an homage to the classic American peanut butter (Jif) commercial.
4. What’s the deal with the name? Graphics Interchange Format
5. Why do we love it so? Let us count the ways! It’s portable, lovable, supports animations and can use up to 256 colors. And it’s totally compressed without losing visual quality.
6. So awesome, it helped birth ANOTHER format. A controversy over the licensing agreement between CompuServe and Unisys (the software patent holder) led to the development of the Portable Network Graphics standard, which we know as “ a PNG.”
So let’s raise a glass—or upload a spinning globe—in honor of the mighty GIF.