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Pinterest now playing GIFs with a pause button

Users on the Web can now take pleasure -- or pain -- in the pics that keep on playing.

pinterest gifs

Regardless of whether you prefer your "g" hard or soft, the GIF is about to take a firm hold over Pinterest. The company said Thursday that it's now supporting the animated image format for pins on the Web.

Pinterest is the 4-year-old Web and mobile social network where millions of people, mostly women, go to seek inspiration and save ideas on home improvement projects, fashion, food, and the like. The pin, the app's prized community, is the digital equivalent of a pushpin, meaning members can stick a pin in anything they find on the Web or their smartphone and tack it to one of their boards.

The addition of animated GIFs will add a new dimension to the network, which has only formally supported photos and videos until now. Pinterest, in a nod to those who prefer their images to remain stationary, also has included a button in the lower left-hand corner of GIF pins so people can push play or pause on them.

It's not as if playable GIFs are entirely new to the social network. The company has, as an experiment, selectively supported the animated images for the past few weeks, and there are already tens of millions of GIFs animating all over the service. Now, however, everyone can take pleasure -- or pain -- in the pics that keep on playing, with the one exception that GIFs only play on the Web for now. That's one big exception as mobile represents three-fourths of all usage, the company has said.

Still, the new feature will reach plenty of people. Analytics firm ComScore estimates that more than 48 million people visit Pinterest on the Web each month.