Betaworks’ Giphy takes on Google in the red-hot market for GIF search


Six weeks ago, Jace Cooke and Alex Chung, two of the hackers in residence at New York innovation lab betaworks, shared a fun little product they had cobbled together with about twenty friends. It was called Giphy, and it lets users search a database of around thousands of GIFs, the animated loops that have become the lingua franca of internet culture. Word spread like wildfire and by the end of that week, with no marketing at all, over 50,000 people had taken Giphy for a spin, melting down the not-yet-a-startup’s one server on several occasions.

“We could tell it struck a nerve, so we swarmed it,” said Paul Murphy, the head of product at betaworks, which is home to startups such Chartbeat, Bitly and the newly refreshed Digg. “That’s one…

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