The humble GIF has seen a renaissance in recent years, even evolving, in some cases, into an arresting artform. Now Gifture, which just hit the App Store today, hopes to make them into an entertaining alternative to the smartphone snap.
When Gifture’s press release first landed in Betabeat’s inbox, the sight of an Instagram-like interface and the prospect of yet another social mobile photo app left us unimpressed. Then we clicked through to a sample post, only to find a charming animated image of Astoria’s elevated train at night, flickering like a silent film. Downloading the app, we discovered an feed filled what appear to be members of the Gifture team: designer James McDonald bellyflopping onto a bed; business development brain Erik Stern doing a goofy dance outside an Apple store. Intrigued, Betabeat reached out to Mr. Stern, who offered a bit of background on their creation. He explained that, to his team (consisting of just himself, Mr. McDonald, and developer Devin Doty), the appeal of gifs lie in the ability to tell a complete story. “We feel like with GIFs, we can paint a more complete picture of moments that we want to share. And gifs can be hilarious, gifs can evoke a certain emotion.” Given that, their goal is to “evolve the picture-taking and GIF-making experience,” he explained.
Asked how Gifture will stand out among competitors such as Flixel, Kinotopic, and Cinemagram, Mr. Stern expressed absolute confidence in their product: “We felt if we focused on user experience and creating a complete GIF-making solution, that we would stand out. Again, with a laser focus on design, we felt like we could distinguish ourselves as the GIF-maker of the iPhone and iPod touch, and again, I feel like we’ve done that,” he told Betabeat.
“At the end of the day,” he added, “We want to make a product that we want to use, so we felt like with Gifture we could do that.”
They’re off to a good start: Today they nabbed the App Store’s coveted top featured app spot. Mr. Stern attributed the nod to their “laser focus on design,” He wouldn’t disclose numbers, other than to say that “we’ve had a ton of people sign up,” and “we’ve seen a lot of success so far, and we hope that it keeps going.”