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Tumblr Website Now Supports Apple's Live Photos: Here's How It Works

22 September 2016, 8:39 am EDT By Sumit Passary Tech Times
Tumblr now supports Apple Live Photos on its website, which will bring life to still images. Tumblr is also working on an Android version of the feature.  ( Noam Galai | Getty Images )

Tumblr, a microblogging and social networking service, is bringing Apple Live Photos to the web.

Apple first introduced Live Photos in the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus running on iOS 9. Live Photos takes a small 3-second video of a photo being snapped. It includes voice and movement that breathe life into a still image.

The short video is made up of a 1.5-second video before the still image is captured and another 1.5 second footage after the user taps the shutter button. Live Photos have attracted millions of smartphone enthusiasts and several third-party apps have also taken advantage of the feature.

On Sept. 20, Tumblr announced that it is bringing the highly touted Apple feature to the web. The Live Photo images will be marked with an icon on the top left corner, so users will know that they can view those posts in action.

"Live Photos work on the web now. Whenever you see that famous Live Photo icon, click and hold to make them swing. Tumblr was the first third-party app to support Live Photos - you could even GIF 'em. Now we're the first to support them on the web. And! We're open-sourcing the JavaScript library for any webmaster to use: GitHub and npm," says Tumblr.

The company has now released an open source JavaScript library, which it has named "Laphs," or Live Anywhere Photos. Live Photos on a mobile is activated when a user hard-presses the screen. However, Live Photo on the web will be activated when the user clicks and holds the Live Photo icon.

To make Live Photos work on a website, Tumblr gets a copy of the still image (.jpeg) and the video (.mov) after a user posts a Live Photo from an iOS device. Tumblr then transcodes the .mov file to a .mp4 file to make it work properly on all web browsers.

Tumblr then combines the .jpeg and .mp4 files to bring Apple's Live Photo experience to the web.

Live Photos are very similar to GIF files, which are extremely popular on microblogging websites such as Tumblr. Given the high popularity and the similarities between the two formats it is not surprising that Tumblr has focused on bringing Live Photos to the web. Tumblr may potentially drive the adoption of Live Photos beyond its own website.

Tumblr also confirmed that it is working on an Android version of Live Photos on the web.

Although Tumblr is the first to support Live Photos on websites, it is highly likely that other services will also bring support for Live Photos on the web in the near term.

Photo: Josh James | Flickr

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