In Short: Instagram has just released a new feature to its app on both iOS and Android in order to allow you to send GIFs in direct messages. If you want to send a GIF to your friends or whoever, all you need to tap the new GIF button in the composer bar, which should be fairly easy to spot, after which a library of the latest trending GIFs will become visible to you. GIPHY is the GIF service behind this, in other words, this new feature is backed by GIPHY, and you'll be searching GIPHY's library if you want to send a widget using Instagram Direct Messages. You can, of course, do a manual search for something specific from that menu, you don't need to rely on trending GIFs. On top of all that, you can actually send a random GIF to your contact, based on what you've searched for. So, for example, if you search for 'funny', you can tap 'random', and Instagram will send a random GIF that is related to that word you've used.
Background: This update was kind of unexpected, as we did not see any hints regarding it thus far, even though the feature itself is not that unexpected, users have been asking for this for a long time. Having said that, Instagram had released quite a few updates to its application in recent months, while it has also been in the news for various other reasons. The company has brought Shopping in Stories to 46 countries after a three-month testing period, that happened quite recently, not to mention that the Instagram app got updated with emoji shortcut bar as well earlier this month. It is also said that the company is working on a new, separate, shopping application, though it remains to be seen how accurate those reports are.
Impact: Instagram is one of the largest social networks out there, if we can refer to it that way. It's not a secret that Instagram is Facebook-owned, and it seems like the app is trying to keep up with today's user demands and keep rolling out features left and right. It remains to be seen how well will this new feature be accepted, though it's hard to expect users will not like an option to send GIFs.