After its roll out of support for 60 frames-per-second video, YouTube is now testing native tools to make GIFs from its videos.
The GIF option was first spotted on PBS' Idea Channel. A sign-up sheet later emerged, inviting creators to apply for beta access to the new feature.
"We are testing this new feature with a handful of creators and look forward to adding new ones soon," states the sign-up page.
Michael Chang, a YouTube software engineer, announced Nov. 21 that the company was offering a beta that would enable a "handful" of creators to test out the streaming video site's GIF-making abilities.
Chang mused about the values of GIFs in a soundbite that appeared in a video posted to YouTube's Creator's channel. If images are worth a thousand words, how many words are GIF files worth, he asks rhetorically.
"If we assume that a GIF is about three seconds and it's 15 frames per second, that's 45 pictures," states Chang. "That means that a GIF must be worth 45,000 words, right? Well, we created a simple way for you to make GIF from your YouTube videos in seconds and we're working on a way for you to let your fans to do the same, sharing their love and your content with even more people."
Going by Chang's comments, it appears YouTube isn't preparing to support the creation of GIFs in the new GIFV format. Back in October, Imgur launched Project GIFV to push the evolution of the Graphics Interchange Format.
The GIFV form leverages HTML5 and MP4 encoding to deliver a new standard that offers higher resolutions than the traditional GIF format, while loading even faster than its predecessor. The GIFV format also offers more efficient compression than traditional GIFs.
"We hope these changes deliver an improved GIF experience on Imgur with more fun and less frustration, optimizing it for all of the changes that have happened on the Internet since the format was first introduced in 1987," stated Imgur.
YouTube's GIF creation tool is still in beta, so there's still time to adopt the GIFV format or to at least offer it as an alternative to traditional GIFs. YouTube has already embraced the HTML5 format to deliver its 60-fps videos, so the streaming video service could embrace the GIFV format in its GIF creation tool after the fact.