I was at a bit of an impasse earlier today while writing about the new Google Maps page that lets you see user adjustments in real-time. A video to show off the feature would have been overkill, while an animated GIF afforded the same view to readers at a substantially smaller file size. Not having Photoshop installed on this machine (which has a pretty simple animated-GIF-making wizard), and not wanting to go through a tedious multistep process using Paint.net, I turned to Gickr.
Gickr is a simple tool that lets you upload up to 10 files from Flickr or your PC and turn them into an animated GIF with variable speed control. The service is aimed mostly at social networking users who want to pack the most into their profile picture or photo galleries, but if you've ever been curious about making an animated GIF but have been put off either by some of the obscure special software required or complex how-to guides, then this is the tool for you.
Once you've uploaded your images to the service you can tweak things like how big you want the end image to be, and how fast it cycles through each picture. Gickr hosts the GIF for you, and gives you an embed code and the option to add tags to make it a part of the user gallery. The one limitation is that the service adds a little Gickr watermark to your image in the top left corner, even if you want to host the image yourself. That, and the fast transition speed is truly nauseating unless you're attempting to make a cartoon. I still enjoy its simplicity when compared with admittedly more powerful, but complicated standalone software tools.