Q: What is the fastest way to get animated GIFs into text messages?
A: Top speeds depend on various factors, like hardware, software and user involvement. However, using a dedicated keyboard that taps into a ready library of GIF files is often a speedy way to send a visual response in a text message, a Twitter post or a conversation in the Slack communications service. Animated GIFs — those looping bits of video often taken from movies, TV shows or viral clips — can also be found in online libraries with links for easy sharing in messages or to social media sites.
Keyboard apps with shortcuts to animated image collections (alongside the traditional QWERTY keys) are one way to share your visual responses more quickly because you do not have to jump out to a website to find a GIF and its link to share. Apps in this category include the GIF Keyboard app for Android and iOS, but you can find others by searching. The Giphy.com site, which houses one of the most-used libraries of animated images on the web, has several GIF-related apps, including Giphy Keys for iOS and its Giphy app for Android and iOS.
Google’s Gboard keyboard app for Android and iOS devices has shortcuts to animated GIF files and emoji characters — tap the emoji icon at the bottom of the screen and then tap GIF to get to the image repository. Apple’s Messages app for iOS 10 can save and send GIF files when you are composing a message. Tap the gray arrow next to the message-input field, then on the App Store icon to see the available collection.
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The PopKey app for Mac and Windows brings quick access to animated GIFs to the computer; an iOS version is also available. Copying an image’s URL from a website specializing in animated images and pasting it into messages is another way to share.
Update messages in Chrome
Q: I get a message when I open Chrome and use Gmail or Facebook every day that says that my Chrome version is out of date and that I need to upgrade. When I go to Chrome to check the version, it says I have the latest one. Why do I keep getting these messages?
A: Update hiccups with Google Chrome can happen for a number of reasons, but start by checking that your computer’s operating system meets the requirements for the latest version of the browser. For the current version of Chrome, you need at least Windows 7, Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or 64-bit editions of the major Linux distributions (like Ubuntu, Debian, openSUSE or Fedora) that were released in the past few years.
If your operating system is outdated, Chrome may have moved on without it. Windows users should check the browser’s Properties box to make sure the program isn’t set to run in compatibility mode for an earlier version of the system. Those using Chrome on an office network may be at the mercy of the corporate IT department as to when updates can actually be installed on company computers. Firewall settings and other security software could also prevent Chrome from updating properly.
Adware or malware may be another source of the problem, with variations of the “Urgent Chrome Update” pop-up plaguing some users as it tries to hijack the browser. Scanning your system with anti-virus and anti-malware software may root out the source of the messages.
If none of these issues seems to be causing the problem, uninstalling the browser and reinstalling it with a fresh copy might take care of the situation. You can get the latest version of Google Chrome at www.google.com/chrome. Be sure to restart after you install the software.