The inventor of the GIF has died in America. Stephen Wilhite, the creator of the moving pictures, died at the age of 74 from the consequences of a corona infection.
GIF stands for Graphic Interchange Format. The images are extremely popular on social media; they are often used to send a message or joke.
Wilhite invented the file in 1987 because of the slow internet, intended to send multiple images quickly. “He thought of everything in his head and then he programmed it on the computer,” his wife told The Verge. The first GIF, as far as he could remember, was a moving picture of an airplane, Wilhite told The Daily Dot in 2012.
The inventor was working at the company CompuServe in the 1980s, when the GIF file was conceived. In 2000 he retired. 25 years after his invention, his work and contribution to internet culture were recognized with a Webby Award.
Opinions on the pronunciation of the GIF differ. In Dutch it can be pronounced with a hard G, but in English the pronunciation differs between ‘give’ and ‘jif’. Both pronunciations are approved in the English dictionary, but according to Wilhite only the spoken ‘jif’ is the correct pronunciation.
On Twitter, people are posting a tribute and his favorite GIF: The dancing baby.
Other popular GIFs on social media: