AOL Buys Kanvas, Ups Multimedia Mobile Experience

Stepping up its mobile social app game, AOL is buying a startup that specializes in exactly that. As the Web giant announced on Monday, AOL is investing to scale Kanvas Labs and its various products.

The deal should also add user-generated content and a creative tool set to other AOL products and platforms. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Investing in the mobile social space is a no-brainer, according to Dave McDowell, SVP communication products at AOL.

“Multimedia content is exploding on mobile devices with more than 1 trillion photos, 100 billion videos and 100 billion GIFs created last year. Kanvas Labs will help AOL enable incredible experiences for multimedia creators and consumers,” McDowell stated.

Not unlike other content editing tools on the market, today, Kanvas’ flagship product features different editing modes for users to craft “artsy” GIFs, slow motion and time-lapse videos, animations, drawings and slideshows.

Kanvas Keyboard lets users share animated GIFs and stickers in any mobile conversation, while Kanvas for Messenger gives users access to multimedia editing tools directly from Facebook Messenger.

Already headquartered in New York City, Kanvas Labs will be integrated into AOL’s global headquarters in the Big Apple.

These days, GIFs -- short for graphics interchange format -- are everywhere.

Somewhere between a still picture and an animated video, the hypnotically looping formats have long since overtake the Web, including countless ad campaigns.

Adidas, for instance, recently offered users an embeddable GIF of their experiences interacting with a broader Boost campaign. “Boost Yourself” booth photographs were transmitted to virtual Boost capsules on the campaign’s visual wall.

Hulu recently launched a Gif search engine powered by Tumblr, which lets people search and discover TV-related GIFs by Shows, Actions, and Reactions.

Even Facebook recently softened its GIF policy to allow them in Page posts and “boosted” posts. Early brand partners include Wendy’s and Kuat, one of Coca-Cola’s Brazilian soft drink brands.

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