[App Fridays] With GIFkaro, say it with customised GIFs, or make your own desi-inspired ones

Do you find yourself reacting with GIFs more than words? And if you’re looking for some desi flavours in them, GIFkaro is the app for you.

Love 'em or hate 'em, but you cannot avoid GIFs anymore. They are everywhere - having emerged as one of the most common forms of expression across multiple communication channels - social media platforms, instant messages, and even emails.

Almost all social media and chat platforms have now gotten on board with the trend and support GIFs to enhance user experience. Keeping up with this global phenomenon, the 500 million smartphone users in India are becoming GIF lovers too.

But personalisation is key. While a lot of global content are seamlessly translated into GIFs, the need to give them a local twist to appeal to the ever-growing smartphone user pool in India is now being addressed by our startups.

Meet GIFkaro, a New Delhi-based app launched by Arpit Kumar, Puneet Kalra, and Dinesh Kumar in June 2017. Using GIFkaro, you can create short GIFs in multiple languages including Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, and English.

This month, the company raised a funding of $250,000 from angel investors, including Pranay Gupta (former Snapchat and current Google employee), and Dr Ekika Singh, a prominent gynaecologist and infertility specialist, among others. The company has another app, Invitekaro, to create personalised and GIF-based wedding invitations. Invitekaro also provides designers with a ‘gig’ opportunity to submit and monetise their designs on the app.

We reviewed GIFkaro to understand how Indians are personalising GIFs with a dash of ‘desi tadka’. Here’s what we found.

First things first, even before you sign up, chose your preferred language - not just for the content but also for the app as it is vernacular in terms of UI too. On the welcome screen, the app claims that it is India’s largest GIF library.

Also read: Why Hyderabad-based GIFSKEY is focusing on the Indian GIF market

After selecting the preferred language, you can sign up through your mobile number. It took us less than a minute to set up our profile. The profile is very much like what you would have on a social media app, and you can even add a display pic as well as a cover image. Unfortunately, there is no way to browse through the app without signing up.

Initially, we chose Hindi as our preferred language but changed it to English later, which proved to be a very easy and smooth process. The profile homepage has the language option on the top left at all times so you do not even have to go into the settings.

On the homepage, GIFs are in categories like reaction, actors, Holi, action, Bengali, dance, devotional, dialogue, festival, funny, general, Gujarati, Hot, Kannada, Malayalam, politics, etc. And these are all local - Indian and in vernacular.

The homepage is split into two tabs - WhatsApp Bazaar, and GIFCam. The WhatsApp bazaar features trending categories like hot, romantic, funny, wishes, etc.

You can share GIFs directly through the app on WhatsApp. One can also personalise the content under this section by adding text to it. The only complaint we had was that we could not move the added content, and there were no colours or fonts available for the text.

GIFCam features user-generated content, created by the users from scratch.

At the bottom of the homepage, a ‘plus’ sign allows users to create their own GIFs by shooting their own photos and videos.

The app shows you the rules of creation for each time you wish to create a GIF. They are divided into dos and don'ts that seem like a great feature to maintain the basic hygiene of these user-generated GIFs.

We tried creating a GIF though the editing tool. There are options to either shoot a fresh GIF or use pre-recorded videos from the phone. It has a video cutter feature, which allows users to trim the video length, and even capture a particular second from the video.

It also has smart category options with tag suggestions, which is smart and easy to avoid clutter in the app. It took us less than a minute to create a GIF and we earned points for making it.

GIFs are serious business

Not only can creators make their own content, but they can also earn points and even money through in-app contests that let people win real money for being a top GIF creator.

The app is ad-supported, but you will not be bombarded by them. We were able to create a GIF smoothly, and just before the final version, we had to see an ad of a few seconds.

There’s more! GIFkaro also has to earn real money through certain activities like inviting a friend, sharing GIFs, publishing posts, etc., in a given time. The app claims that a user can earn up to Rs 30,000 per month.

Network - with GIFs

On GIFkaro, you can also follow other users. Similar to social media apps, each GIFkaro user profile displays the number of followers and following. The app categorises each user under ‘power user’ or ‘addicted’ or ‘hyper user’ based on how much content you generate.

Overall Interface

The interface of the app is fairly clutter free. We used the app with high speed internet, and witnessed no crash. It can’t be said how it works with low or patchy internet connection. However, there were some lags in the UI while uploading a video to make a GIF. Also, we couldn’t find a way to delete the content we uploaded to the app.

The verdict

Overall, there is a witty quality to it. If you love chatting using GIFs and would love to express yourself in your own language, you should definitely give it a try.

We were impressed by the diverse content available from popular movie clips to innovative original content from the app users. GIFkaro is currently available on Android. It has more than 10,000 downloads with a rating of 4.1 stars.

Also Read: Giphy launches storytelling format with curated GIFs


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