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September 27, 2017

Giphy taps Google AI tech to help you find the right GIF

by John_A

Giphy’s collection is a good way to find the right GIF to express your feelings… up until you’re tracking down that one elusive GIF that’s improperly tagged. The company has a clever solution, though: make AI technology look through the GIFs itself. It’s implementing Google machine learning that combs through the animated image files looking for caption text. If you’re trying to find the “where are the turtles” quote from The Office, you’ll actually see GIFs related to that quote — not every vaguely turtle-related picture under the Sun.

Notably, the new system (developed by an intern, Bethany) prioritizes captions over its source description. Giphy does take care to prevent this from overriding common searches, though. Looking for “happy birthday” won’t suddenly turn up every celebratory movie scene.

To no one’s surprise, the new feature had a dramatic influence when put to the test in the summer. Many more people were clicking through to GIFs when they searched for phrases (32 percent more for “never give up never surrender,” for example). In other words, visitors are actually getting the GIFs they looked for. That’s rather important for a company whose business revolves around originals and cutting deals with media creators, and it increases the odds that you’ll come back.

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