SAN FRANCISCO: Google has acquired the mobile and desktop GIF platform Tenor, in a demonstration of the medium’s growing potential as a marketing channel that can track and align with users’ emotions.

The company announced the acquisition on its blog as a way to make it “easier to find and share GIFs”. With a platform that works across Android, iOS and desktop, Tenor will be integrated with Google’s Image search. Elsewhere, the company will implement the tech in other products that use GIFs such as Gboard.

“Tenor will continue to operate as a separate brand, and we're looking forward to investing in their technology and relationships with content and API partners,” writes Google Images’ Director of Engineering, Cathy Edwards. Notably, one of Tenors’ current uses is in Facebook’s Messenger service, The Verge observed.

GIF capabilities tied straight into popular messaging apps such as Whatsapp, through the integration of both Giphy and Tenor, point to the growing popularity of the medium among personal users. Business-facing platforms such as Facebook’s work platform and Slack have also brought the medium into offices.

With a unit of communication that can be fabricated, the opportunity for brands is clear. Speaking at South by South West earlier this month, Alex Chung, CEO of Giphy said that the triumph of the GIF was its ability to “turn advertising into content”.

Just over a year ago, VentureBeat reported that Tenor had moved to monetize GIFs by adding advertising and analytics capabilities. Its insights function seeks to educate marketers on GIF usage, similar to a keyword research tool like Google’s own AdWords.

Key to the insights feature is the ability to track the emotions that users are searching for – not only does a GIF express emotion more visibly than a keyword, it also allows the platform to gather analytics from across its various integrations including instant or text messages. On its website, Tenor boasts an intricate map of emotion, built on 300m+ daily GIF searches.

Speaking to VentureBeat when the firm announced this capability, CEO David McIntosh remarked on Tenor’s, and GIFs’ real power. “Our signal is super strong. People are going to Tenor because 'I’m super upset' and want to express that,” he said.

Sourced from Google, Tenor, The Next Web, VentureBeat, WARC