Imgur Attempts To Break Our Dependency on the GIF

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A lot of the internet we use today is built on some pretty antique architecture. For example, SMTP, one of the primary protocols most services use to send email, was designed in 1982, and was never meant to do to function in the way that we use email today, like sending attachments. But the idea of rebuilding email from scratch is so cumbersome, engineers have just been building on top of them for decades. 

The visual vocabulary of the modern internet is built heavily on the animated GIF, another technology that is over a quarter-century old. Today, the massive image sharing site imgur has announced it is going to try and wean the internet off of the GIF by doing a mass conversion of all of its GIFs to MP4s which will be known as GIFVs 

The new format promises to run create better looking looping videos of much smaller sizes. The examples imgur posted were 50MB in GIFformat, but only 3mb in GIFV format, allowing for much smoother playback. They also look great. Still, in a perfect example of how it takes time for the architecture of the internet to catch up with new file formats, I can't embed a looping GIFV in this article - I can only embed it as a video (see below). Still, they hold the promise of making Tumblr (and basically every other modern website) much easier to read on my phone, so I'm all for it.