Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) was introduced by the CompuServe online service in 1987, intended to provide a consistent and compact format for graphics to be downloaded on that service. Since the specifications were openly released, the format gained wide use in graphics software and on online services and bulletin board systems (BBSs), not just CompuServe; later it became a major Web graphic format. GIF's ability to have animation (unlike most still graphic formats) has caused it to gain some Internet notoriety and use in conjunction with "memes".

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