According to the Atlantic, GIFs are on their way out. Does anyone else feel that isn’t quite accurate?
GIFs aren’t on their way out, they’re just becoming more of a specialized format for very specific uses. If you want a short, repeating animation and don’t mind the limits on image quality (and you’d like the benefit of the end-user not having to use something like Flash, and you want it to work seamlessly on any browser or device), then the GIF is still the only game in town.
I think the main reason for the shift we see in the graph here is that web-developers are using GIFs less frequently in their web designs and instead opting for PNGs, which is the right decision. PNGs offer much higher quality along with 254 levels of transparency — but that wasn’t supported in Internet Explorer prior to version 7.
(JPEGs will always rein supreme because of the huge number of photos that people take with digital cameras, which are now ubiquitous.)
To summarize: Other than very specific kinds of animation, GIFs don’t have much real-world use. No other popular image format has such a narrow range of appropriate uses, and I think this tends to solidify and inspire the constantly growing community of GIF-makers.