If a picture paints a thousand words, how come it’s such a drag to send a jovial GIF to your friends? You know the drill: you get a message from a friend asking if you’d like to meet for a Starbucks and you want to reply with a quirky GIF. Then the hassle begins: you have to open your browser, hunt down the GIF that fits best, copy it, then paste it to mail or message. You might just as well text “Yep” in words.
But there’s a solution in the offing that has the potential to be as big as it is addictive: the world’s first animated GIF keyboard, PopKey.
The PopKey keyboard app came out of Ottawa-based creative studio, Workshop X, chiefly because studio founder Adrian Salamunovic wanted to send animated “reaction” GIF’s during conversations with friends without the fun-vaporising bother. So he came up with PopKey, which, thanks to Apple’s decision earlier this summer to open its iOS operating system to third party keyboards, will be coming to an iPhone near you very shortly (some reports say 17th September, others say 19th).
So here’s how it works – using different keywords, it bundles all the trending GIF’s into assorted categories and presents them on its keyboard, which is made up of a tile of GIF images instead of words. Then you simply tap the key for the category you want (say, “LOL” for funny GIF’s), hold down and copy the one you like and paste it into your message or email. OK, you still have to copy and paste, but as it’s all available within iMessage, it’s a darned sight quicker than surfing around online.
Not only that, but the app also curates an expanding pool of GIF’s to cover just about every kind of reaction you can think of: it lets you upload GIF’s yourself, lets you save your favourites and access the ones you’ve used recently ultra-fast. Curated GIF’s are stamped with a PopKey watermark, which, of course, has the potential to generate a viral feedback loop drawing others to the software.
This has the potential, we think, not to rival the written word but to enliven it. If innovations like this catch on more broadly, content writing might get a whimsically appealing (and addictive) new toy to play with.