Stephen Wilhite, GIF Inventor, Dies Of COVID-19

The GIF inventor, Stephen Wilhite, has died of COVID-19 at the age of 74.

Wilhite worked at Compuserve, one of the biggest American online service providers in the 80s, where he first developed the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) in 1987.

According to Engadget, Wilhite created GIFs to allow photo transfers over slow modem connections, they have since become synonymous with short meme videos.

It was designed as an exchange and display mechanism for graphic images at a time when internet speed was extremely slow.

It was limited to only 256 colors per animation, the format could have easily fizzled out but in a stroke of genius, Wilhite had designed the format to store multiple frames, making it natural for short animations.

GIFs became popular on their own after AOL purchased CompuServe and let the patent expire.


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