Facebook just bought GIPHY to better bake GIFs into Instagram

Facebook has acquired GIPHY, with plans to fully integrate the GIF-search tool into apps like Instagram and Messenger so as to make finding animated responses easier. The GIPHY team will be folded into Instagram, Facebook says, though other apps and services will still be able to use the various GIF search and hosting too.

Launched in 2013, GIPHY initially worked as a search engine for GIFs. Over time, it expanded to host short looping videos, with a search engine that allowed people to find a relevant clip based on tagged topics. Initially it integrated with Facebook, with Twitter integration coming shortly after.

Come 2015, GIPHY launched a tool for actually creating GIFs, not just hosting them. GIPHY Cam captured short clips and then converted them into the animations the site hosts. Initially available for iOS, it followed on with an Android version in 2016.

As Facebook tells it, the acquisition was an obvious one. 50-percent of traffic to GIPHY comes from Facebook's family of apps, the social networking behemoth claims. Half of that is from Instagram on its own.

"By bringing Instagram and GIPHY together, we can make it easier for people to find the perfect GIFs and stickers in Stories and Direct," Vishal Shah, VP of Product at Facebook, says. "Both our services are big supporters of the creator and artist community, and that will continue."

For GIPHY – and its users – it'll be business as usual, at least for the time being. The existing GIF library will continue to operate, and individuals will still be able to upload their own GIFs to it for sharing. Developers and API partners using the current GIPHY APIs to integrate search into their apps and services – such as Twitter does for GIFs in tweets – will continue to have access to that as well.

"We've had a lot of fun teaming up with Instagram over the years," GIPHY said today of the news. "GIPHY's Stickers were the perfect fit for layering on Instagram Stories, while our GIF search allowed everyone to capture that perfect emotion in Instagram's DMs. Based on the success of those collaborations (and many others) we know that there are exciting times ahead of us."

Terms of the deal have not been revealed, though Axios reports it was $400 million. At this point it's unclear when we'll first see the new integrations roll out in Instagram.