Google has announced acquisition of GIF platform Tenor, for Android, iOS, and desktop. And as Google says, it is aimed at “making it easier to find and share GIFs”. Essentially, Tenor is going to help Google bring up GIFs inside Google images and other services like Gboard more easily.
“When we started Google Images, we focused on making it easy to find photos and images from across the web. But as the web evolved and mobile devices changed the way people search, the way people use Google Images has changed too…case in point, we see millions of searches for GIFs every day. We’ve continued to evolve Google Images to meet both of these needs, and today we’re bringing GIFs more closely into the fold by acquiring Tenor”.
Notably, Tenor powers various GIF keyboards for phones and messengers, and Facebook Messenger is one of them. It’s unclear if this acquisition will change that, because Google says that Tenor will continue to operate as a separate brand within Google. The company says that going forward it will be investing in Tenor’s “technology and relationships with content and API partners”.
Google’s director of engineering Cathy Edwards says in the blog that users can expect to see a lot more GIFs on Google services in the near future, and noted that Google images has become more about self-expression in addition to finding photo information.
The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed in full extent, however by positioning itself as a search company that slots into a messaging ecosystem, Tenor seems like a natural piece of the puzzle for Google. It also gives the company a small wedge into the messenger space.