Today in Tech: Why animated GIFs are making a comeback

February 14, 2013, 9:30 AM UTC

Also: How Google got the flu wrong; real estate site Zillow trumps estimates. 

Animated GIFs, like this one of pop artist Taylor Swift, are back.

Fresh from the Internet’s attic [THE NEW YORK TIMES]

The format has since grown up. Artists and photographers have used GIF technology to push far beyond the lo-fi novelty of Web 1.0. Consider the Wigglegram, a craze on Tumblr, which creates a jaunty 3-D effect by looping multiple images shot from slightly different perspectives, like an old-fashioned stereopticon.

In addition to looking more fluid and professional, GIFs are becoming easier to create, thanks to Web-based apps like GIFSoup and Gifninja, which allow people to create them in an instant, said Brad Kim, the editor of Know Your Meme, a site that tracks Web fads of the moment.

Microsoft CFO Klein: We’re ready for devices of all sizes [ZDNET]

Microsoft is getting closer to making dream a reality, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Peter Klein told attendees of the Goldman Sachs Technology & Internet Conference during a Q&A session on February 13.

Klein was asked about Microsoft’s plans to address the tablet and phone market with device form factors ranging from 4 inches to 13 inches and beyond.

When Google got flu wrong [NATURE]

The mother of these new systems is Google’s, launched in 2008. Based on research by Google and the CDC, it relies on data mining records of flu-related search terms entered in Google’s search engine, combined with computer modelling. Its estimates have almost exactly matched the CDC’s own surveillance data over time — and it delivers them several days faster than the CDC can. The system has since been rolled out to 29 countries worldwide, and has been extended to include surveillance for a second disease, dengue.

Google Flu Trends has continued to perform remarkably well, and researchers in many countries have confirmed that its ILI estimates are accurate. But the latest US flu season seems to have confounded its algorithms. Its estimate for the Christmas national peak of flu is almost double the CDC’s (see ‘Fever peaks’), and some of its state data show even larger discrepancies.
The revenue number is a record for the company, and it’s also up 73 percent year-over-year. Of the total, $26.8 million came from the marketplace and $7.5 million came from display advertising.

Opera has announced that its range of Web browsers is now being used by 300 million people each month to navigate the Internet across mobile phones, PCs, tablets and more. The Norwegian firm is marking the milestone with the announcement that it will transition its browsers over to the open-sourced WebKit, in a move that will eventually end the development of its own rendering engine.

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