Social image sharing site Imgur today announced Project GIFV, an internal initiative to drag the GIF format we all know and love out of the 90s and into the modern, HTML5-powered web. Going forward, the site will convert all images uploaded in GIF format to lightweight MP4 videos.
Imgur says its MP4 videos (which will have a new “.gifv” format) will still look and act like GIFs, except they’ll load much faster and will support files up to 50MB in size, 10 times larger than what you can upload today. And because services like Twitter and Facebook are better at handling videos than GIFs in their news feeds, it means people are more likely to see the actual content you want them to see, not just the link.
Imgur isn’t the first image-sharing site to decide that the legacy GIF format isn’t a great solution for distributing what are essentially short, looping videos. For instance, Gfycat lets you submit a GIF or URL to a video on services like YouTube or Vimeo and spits out a link to a fast-loading, HTML5-compatible video that loads faster than a comparable GIF, like so: