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Brief Published: 19 Dec 2014

YouTube’s Gif Creation Tool

Video platform YouTube has started testing out a new tool through which users can grab slices of video content and instantly turn them into gifs.

Currently available on videos posted to US broadcaster PBS's Idea Channel, the YouTube Gif Creator is located in the videos' 'share' sections, where a scrub bar can be put to use to select up to six seconds of footage for an animated gif. Additionally, sharers can customise the imagery with captions for enhanced meaning. The gif can then be shared through direct links or embed codes, or downloaded for future use. YouTube channels eager to add the feature to their videos can note their interest via a beta sign-up page.

Gifs have become an internet lingua franca highly saturated with meme and pop culture – the looped moments of video saying a thousand words and more for online users.

Professional publishers are taking an interest in the highly popular image files. While UK newspaper the Guardian brings us gifs by venerated artists for Christmas, 20th Century Fox has found a unique application for the online vernacular. To promote its upcoming film Taken 3, the US film studio has released slivers of feature footage as exclusive gifs to the Riffsy Gif keyboard for iOS, giving iPhone users the option to let Liam Neeson speak in their stead.

For more on the state of digital culture as 2014 draws to a close, read our report on the Ignition Conference, held in New York City.