Photo-sharing service Instagram has launched its new app Bolt in selected regions. Bolt, a Snapchat-style messaging app, is the latest attempt by Instagram and its owners Facebook to dethrone Snapchat as the ephemeral messaging app of choice.
Instagram has quietly launched the one-tap photo sharing app in New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa, for iOS and Android but plans to expand to other countries in the near future.
An Instagram spokesperson told The Verge:
“We’re going to other regions soon, but are starting with handful of countries to make sure we can scale the experience. Instagram has 65 percent of its users overseas, so an international launch, while different, is actually not all that out of order with what we do.”
The three selected regions for the launch were reportedly chosen for their geographical diversity and tight-knit communities, something Bolt hopes to capitalize on.
Unlike Snapchat, Bolt only lets you send photos or videos to one recipient at a time. To do so, users tap on a friend’s face to send a photo instantly, or perform a long-press to send a video. An accident Bolt can be undone with a shake of your phone.
Bolt, which Instagram calls “wicked fast” comes hot on the heels of Facebook’s own Slingshot app that launched just weeks ago to a tepid response.
While Bolt may face the ire of competing apps like Snapchat and Taptalk, which provide similar functionality, CEO of existing Android voice and messaging app of the same name Andrew Benton produced a blog post pleading with the photo-sharign giant not to choose the Bolt moniker for its newest offering. He claims that Instagram’s Bolt will cause confusion in the app market and overshadow his own app.
Will Instagram change their mind on the name? It’s unlikely. After all, Facebook didn’t listen to FiftyThree’s pleas when launching Paper earlier this year.
“This isn’t a side project,” the Instagram spokesperson told The Verge. “We are totally behind this thing.”
Bolt is a free download and is available on the iOS App Store in selected regions.
What do you think of Instagram Bolt? Could you see a use for it in your life or is it just another flash in the pan Snapchat clone? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!