For those who like sharing their lulz, the animated GIF platform Loopcam has just received a major update, plugging into Facebook’s Open Graph to boost visibility and allowing users to upload any third-party-created animation to their account via a browser.
The Berlin startup lets people create and upload stop-motion-style animations with their phone cameras. It may still be lacking a business model, but the changes unveiled on Monday certainly point towards the evolution of a more comprehensive platform.
The updates mean a prettier and more intuitive iPhone app (founder Tor Rauden Källstigen is very keen on green, it seems), a revised widget for embedding on Tumblr and the like, and the addition of friend feeds and Like buttons. The browser-based upload option is also very handy, especially given that most animated GIFs out there weren’t made using Loopcam’s app.
But, according to Rauden Källstigen, this isn’t about making the service some kind of GIF repository. Indeed, he wants to step away from the idea of being format-specific, as he sees it as too technical for the general user.
“Our long-term vision is to let people communicate,” Rauden Källstigen told me. “GIF is just a format. Part of this long term vision is to let people play round with all kinds of material, so this is a first step.”
“Later on, we will launch our API publicly and then people will be able to upload, download or do whatever they want with the platform.”
It does still sound a bit vague, but then again platforms such as these are about traction first and business model later. Just look at Instagram – the point is to make it fun.
So how many people are actually signed up to Loopcam?
Rauden Källstigen still won’t give hard numbers, but he did tell me that “the amount of Loopcamers around the world has now widely passed the six digit milestone”. The biggest growth is apparently in the UK, U.S., Sweden and of course Germany.
For a company that’s only been going for a few months, and that deals in a relatively unproven market lying somewhere between photography and videography, that doesn’t seem like a bad start at all.