Stephen Wilhite, creator of GIF format, dies at the age of 74. Technology

Stephen Wilhite, creator of GIF format, dies at the age of 74.  Technology

Stephen Wilhite, the inventor of the popular GIF animated image format, died last week at the age of 74 following complications from COVID-19. He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit and died on March 14.

This information was released by the public American radio network, NPR, last Wednesday (23).

Developer created the format in 1987 working for CompuServe company, GIF is an acronym for “Graphics Interchange Format”.

The format was intended to allow the transfer of photos using dial-up connections – which were much slower in the 80s and 90s. At the time, the technology had the distinction of allowing the exchange of color image files.

From Simple Format to Web Event

In a GIF update, Wilhite allowed storing more than one frame in a single file. In an interview with the Daily Dot website, in 2012, the inventor stated that the first GIF contained an image of an airplane. “I think the first GIF was a picture of an airplane. That was a long time ago,” Wilhite said.

First GIF: Published on the Internet by Stephen Wilhite himself – Photo: Reproduction / Giphy

CompuServe was one of the leading Internet providers in the US. In 1997, the company was bought by AOL, one of the giants of the Internet age. The company allowed the file type’s patent to expire, which made GIF public domain.

“The thing that made GIFs stick around is the animation loop that Netscape added. If Netscape hadn’t added GIF support to their browsers, GIFs would have ended in 1998.”

The updates that created animated images made them popular. Currently, they are used as a response in messaging app conversations, help spread memes and have become an essential part of everyday life on social networks.

In 2013, Wilhite was honored with the Webby Awards for her contribution to the Internet world. He introduced GIF in his speech and resolved a controversy in the network: how to pronounce the file format. According to its creator, it is a “gif”, with the sound of “J” and not “G”.

The Giphy platform – which serves as an archiving and GIF creation tool – on Wednesday (23) published a message thanking the developer. ,Thank you for creating something that has been and will be enjoyed by millions of people around the world.”The statement says.

WATCH: Do You Know The Origin Of The Memes You Use?

About the author: Raven Weber

Musicaholic. Unapologetic alcohol maven. Social media expert. Award-winning coffee evangelist. Typical thinker.

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