Yellow-colored text displaying Frinkiac
A search bar and logo for the site on the top, with the slogan and Professor Frink showing three fingers below it
Home page
Created byPaul Kehrer, Sean Schulte, Allie Young
LaunchedFebruary 2, 2016
Written inGo

Frinkiac is a website for users to search for words or phrases from episodes of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons. It returns screenshots related to the search terms, from which it generates memes and animated GIFs. Created by Paul Kehrer, Sean Schulte and Allie Young, the site is named after a computer built by one of the show's recurring characters, Professor Frink. The site was critically acclaimed upon its launch, and Newsweek wrote that it "may be the greatest feat of Internet engineering we've ever seen".[1] As of May 2016, screenshots from the first seventeen seasons of The Simpsons are in Frinkiac's database.

On August 8, 2016 the developers debuted Morbotron, a similar website for Futurama.[2] It was followed by Master of All Science, a Rick and Morty site in the same mold, on July 30, 2017.[3]

Development history

Paul Kehrer and Sean Schulte had the idea of a search engine for screenshots of The Simpsons based on quotes from the show for several years. The two often communicated using lines from the series while at work, and it was very hard for them to find screenshots related to the quotes on Google.[4][5] Development of Frinkiac began around August 2015.[4] Most of Frinkiac's code, written in the Go language in around a week,[4] determines which screenshot frame is most pertinent to the search term by cutting each scene into 100 buckets of matching size amount.[6] The standard color of each bucket is then used to compare it with a frame of the bucket in the previous frame, and the image is saved if these two buckets are different enough.[6] In addition to parsing episode video files with ffmpeg and cgo, the code also analyzes subtitle files, matching the timecodes of the subtitles and the screenshots.[6]

After a few weeks of Allie Young creating the user interface, the three people involved in making Frinkiac used it with their relatives, but didn't launch it to public until February 2, 2016,[4][5] starting with almost three million screenshots from episodes of the show's first fifteen seasons.[6] On the afternoon of May 15, 2016, Frinkiac was updated with the addition of 201,877 screenshots and 21,444 subtitles for episodes from the sixteenth and seventeenth seasons of The Simpsons. The GIF loop time limit was also increased to seven seconds, because, as Kehrer joked, it was "derived from my desire to see Grandpa walk in circles at the burlesque house entrance".[7] Kehrer also announced that day some features for the site that were in the works, such as mp4 and WebMs support for GIF files, conversion of subtitles into other languages, the ability to control the font and font size of the text in a meme image, and a showcase of Simpsons screenshots and memes.[7] In a February 2016 interview, Kehrer said that he'd liked to include more complex search parameters to find well-known screenshots of scenes that don't have much dialogue.[5]


Frinkiac garnered critical acclaim upon its launch.[8][9] A Newsweek journalist who called Frinkiac a "brilliantly designed and mind-blowingly comprehensive search engine", wrote that it "may be the greatest feat of Internet engineering we've ever seen".[1] An Engadget writer said, "As someone who references The Simpsons dozens of times a day, Frinkiac [...] is practically a godsend. Its search function is far faster than sifting through Google images, and the ability to find specific moments during scenes is particularly helpful."[10] Marie Boran of The Irish Times praised the site's use of the Simpsons font for the text of meme images.[11] When reviewing the site upon its February 2016 launch, Hannah Hawkins, writing for Junkee, supported Frinkiac's inclusion of only episodes from the first fifteen seasons, saying "there's no chance of any awful unfunny jokes appearing on your screen".[12] The May 2016 addition of the GIF feature was also significantly praised by journalists.[13][14] As CNET's Claire Reilly wrote, "a million poets could try for a million years and still describe but three-eighths of its beauty".[15] Two of The Simpsons' showrunners, Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, have used Frinkiac on a regular basis for Twitter posts.[16]


  1. ^ a b Bort, Ryan (February 4, 2016). "Google Is No Longer the Greatest Search Engine on the Internet". Newsweek. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  2. ^ Kehrer, Paul (August 8, 2016). "Morbotron -- Like Frinkiac, But For Futurama". Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  3. ^ Kehrer, Paul (July 30, 2017). "Master of All Science - Rick & Morty". Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d Barrett, Brian (February 3, 2016). "Epic 'Frinkiac' Search Engine Matches Any Simpsons Quote With Its Still". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Brogan, Jacob (May 13, 2016). "How Three Simpsons Fans Created the Most Wonderful Thing on the Internet. (Now With GIFs!)". Slate. The Slate Group. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d Kehrer, Paul (February 2, 2016). "Frinkiac – The Simpsons Screenshot Search Engine". Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Kehrer, Paul (May 16, 2016). "State of Frinkiac". Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  8. ^ Blevins, Joe (February 3, 2016). "The Frinkiac search engine can find screencaps for that Simpsons quote". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  9. ^ Geier, Ben (February 4, 2016). "Check Out This Awesome 'The Simpsons' Search Engine". Fortune. Time Inc. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  10. ^ Hardawar, Devindra (February 3, 2016). "Here's the 'Simpsons' search engine you've been waiting for". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  11. ^ Boran, Marie (May 19, 2016). "Web Log: Get Frinky with the Simpsons GIF search engine". The Irish Times. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  12. ^ Hawkins, Hannah (April 2, 2016). "The Frinkiac Is A Deeply Important Search Engine That Matches 'Simpsons' Quotes With Appropriate Stills". Junkee. Junkee Media. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  13. ^ Daly, Kyle (May 13, 2016). "Frinkiac just embiggened its usefulness with animated GIFs". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  14. ^ Starkey, Adam (May 13, 2016). "This tool makes it SO easy to create incredible Simpsons gifs". Metro. DMG Media. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  15. ^ Reilly, Claire (May 12, 2016). "Frinkiac has a GIF generator? I am in flavour country!". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  16. ^ Minor, Jordan (May 25, 2016). "How the weird internet is keeping The Simpsons exciting". Ziff Davis Media. Archived from the original on May 30, 2016. Retrieved June 11, 2016.