You’ll soon be able to send GIFs in a jiffy on your iPhone — or at least a lot faster than you used to be able to.
Blippy, an app that enables users to load their favorite GIFs onto a custom iPhone keyboard, launched today in the hope that users will send GIFs like they do emojis or photos.
The app works like Tinder by finding GIFs from popular GIF sites like Giphy: Swipe right on GIFs you’d like to add to your keyboard, left for ones you’re not interested in. You can search for specific themes like TV shows or emotions, or you can just browse popular, curated GIFs from the Blippy team and see what you come across.
The GIFs you add are then available on your keyboard for easy access when texting or messaging. “It’s silly and it’s playful, but it actually has real purpose,” said David King, founder of Camino Real, the mobile app company behind Blippy. “GIFs make you a better communicator because you can express things in a [different] way.”
The app also aims to solve a common problem with GIFs: Their size. Once GIFs are loaded to your keyboard, you can clear the cache — meaning the phone won’t store those files until you want to use them later on.
Blippy isn’t the first communication product to come from Camino Real, which King started in 2010. He also launched Blip.me, an app for sharing voice memos back in 2012, but says Blippy is a better product. King’s five-person startup raised money from a slew of well-known angel investors in 2010, including Lowercase Capital’s Chris Sacca and PayPal co-founder Max Levchin. He isn’t saying how much money he has raised but it must be a lot — Camino Real is four years along and King still isn’t worried about the need to make money.
“We can monetize if it’s big,” he said. “If it’s not big, it doesn’t matter.”
King thinks it will be big, however, and GIFs certainly seem to be growing in popularity. Pinterest and Twitter both offered GIF support in the past year, and GIF messaging startup Relay was just acquired by Kik Messenger earlier this week.