The format supports up to 8 bits per pixel for each image, allowing a single image to reference its own palette of up to 256 different colors chosen from the 24-bit Binary option png color space. This compression technique was patented in 1985. The original version of GIF was called 87a.
By December 1987, for example, an Apple IIGS user could view pictures created on an Atari ST or Commodore 64. In September 1995 Netscape Navigator 2. 0 added the ability for animated GIFs to loop. The feature of storing multiple images in one file, accompanied by control data, is used extensively on the Web to produce simple animations. In May 2015 Facebook added GIF support, even though they originally did not support GIF on their site.
As a noun, the word GIF is found in the newer editions of many dictionaries. A humorous image announcing the launch of a White House Tumblr suggests pronouncing GIF with the hard “G” sound. In 2017, an informal poll on programming website Stack Overflow showed some numerical preference for hard-“G” pronunciation, especially among respondents in eastern Europe, though both soft-“G” and enunciating each letter individually were found to be popular in Asia and emerging countries. The American Heritage Dictionary cites both, indicating “jif” as the primary pronunciation, while Cambridge Dictionary of American English offers only the hard-“G” pronunciation.
The disagreement over the pronunciation led to heated Internet debate. This takes advantage of the format’s lossless compression, which favors flat areas of uniform color with well defined edges. GIFs may be used to store low-color sprite data for games. GIFs can be used for small animations and low-resolution video clips. Many GIF files have a single image that fills the entire logical screen.