Instagram is taking on Snapchat with a new ephemeral video and photo messaging app called Bolt. But don't get too excited though, as Bolt will launch initially in Singapore, South Africa, and New Zealand, according to TechCrunch, who first reported about the app last week.
A few Instagram users spotted a banner advertisement within the application last week. The app was called Bolt and it was described as a "one tap photo messaging" application. However, skeptics believe it was a test iniatiated by Facebook to deploy ads on the platform.
Today, the URL of Bolt at bolt.instagram.com is live. Below the Bolt logo is the description which reads "Available in selected countries." Furthermore, Bolt apps on Google Play and iTunes are available as well, although you can only download them if you are in the aforementioned countries.
According to its app description, Bolt allows users to shoot and send photos in a tap. Users can also send videos. Taking a shot at Snapchat, Bolt is also an ephemeral app, letting users capture and share unedited photos and videos. Just swipe through the screen and those photos and videos are gone.
A few users are already enjoying Bolt. One user describes the app as "pretty cool and fun." Another says, "Very easy to use. I like the UI. Like Snapchat but different."
To sign up, Bolt will need your phone number. Once installed, Bolt can be accessed through your phone's contacts. You don't need to use your Facebook or Instagram account though to sign up. Bolt has its own camera, and unlike other apps, the faces of your friends on your favorites list are displayed across the bottom of the screen.
When you tap their profiles, your photo or video will be sent automatically to them. But, you can only share to one person at a time, at least for now. There's also a nifty "shake to unsend" feature that withdraws sending. An Instagram representative said that the company is planning to bring Bolt to other regions soon.