Google Buys GIF Platform Tenor

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Google announced today that it is buying Tenor, which it will use to improve its search engine for images. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Google buys Tenor

The company said in a blog post about the acquisition that it plans to incorporate the Tenor platform into Google Images. Engineering Director Cathy Edwards explained that when launching the Images platform originally, they aimed to make it easier for users to locate images and photos all across the internet. However, they found that growing mobile device adoption has changed how users are searching the internet and also how they’re using Images.

Rather than simply using it to find an image of something in particular, users are also running a search in Images to actually find information about the topic. Apparently, people are also using Google Images to communicate with others and to express themselves in various ways. Specifically, Edwards said users are searching for GIFs in Google Images, so to further enhance their image search engine, Google is buying Tenor.

What is Tenor?

Tenor is a platform used to find GIFs, not only on PCs but also on Android and iOS devices. The company entered the scene more than three years ago with its GIF Keyboard, which it launched for iOS devices. People use the platform to search for GIFs that reflect a particular mood they’re in at the moment. The platform said it had over 300 million users last year and processed more than 12 billion searches last month. In 2017, Tenor processed searches using over 4 billion different search terms.

In his own blog post on the acquisition, Tenor CEO David McIntosh described its growth as “explosive since launch,” as it quickly became the top GIF-sharing app on mobile devices. The platform launched its first sponsored GIF late last year and now works with many big brands. In fact, it even has a bit of an advertising business going on, as Dunkin Donuts won an award at the Mobile World Congress this year for the GIF campaign it was running on the Tenor platform.

Here’s what’s next for Tenor and Google

By incorporating the GIF platform into its products, Google aims to make it easier for users to find the GIFs they want to use to express themselves. In addition to incorporating the platform into Images, the search giant also plans to build it into its other products which also use GIFs, such as Gboard. After Google buys Tenor, it will still operate as its own brand, Edwards clarified.

McIntosh said the Google deal will enable them to speed up the improvements to their platform. McIntosh and fellow cofounders Erick Hachenburg and Frank Nawabi will continue to lead the company after joining Google.

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