Imgur was originally created as a gift to Reddit. Now, five years after a launch that saw the company build up more than 140 million users and score $40 million in funding, Imgur is becoming more like the site that spawned it. Imgur today introduces topics, a way for users to categorize files they share to make them easier to discover. The new feature aims to keep people browsing through Imgur's archive of images for longer by making it easier to find pictures of cats, GIFs of TV shows, and other files of a specific theme right from the site's main navigation pane.
Some of the topics will be limited-time only
Uploaded images are assigned one topic per post. At launch, examples include "funny," "storytime," "current events," and "the more you know," but Imgur will also adopt "of the moment" topics that can be used during special events. The feature comes out just in time for the upcoming Academy Awards, and will allow users to categorize uploaded pictures to go along with Oscar night. Topics come less than a year after Imgur introduced tagging to its pictures, another move designed to make it easier to search through millions of uploaded images. Sam Gerstenzang, Imgur's director of product, says the site is also refining its tagging process at the same time as it introduces topics.
Imgur was built by Alan Schaaf, a computer science student and Reddit user who was keen to create an image-hosting service "that didn't suck." Schaaf's site took off quickly, becoming the de facto location for images submitted to Reddit, but also gaining traction on the wider internet, and developing its own set of hardcore users — so-called "Imugrians." The introduction of topics — a way to keep that community clicking through Imgur's vast mines of pictures and GIFs — should help the site gain even more Imgurians, and maybe convert a few Redditors along the way.