Meet Bolt: Instagram’s New Photo and Video Messaging App
Instagram launched a new messaging app on Tuesday that allows users to send short-lived photo and video messages from mobile devices. It’s called Bolt. With a touch of a button, Bolt lets you send a photo or video to a friend. Once it’s read, it disappears forever.
Sound familiar? It looks like Bolt will be challenging other messaging apps, including everyone’s favorite, Snapchat. While Snapchat has made a name for itself introducing the concept of temporary or ephemeral messaging, it has seen some recent competition. Just last month, Facebook recently introduced their own messaging app (with a twist) called Slingshot. Now, Instagram is following in its sister company’s footsteps with its own version.
Both versions by Facebook and Instagram include an identical text editor that lets users add big white text on top of a photo or video. Slingshot, though, encourages users to send photos and videos to several friends at one time. It also requires users to send out content of their own before they can view anything they receive from others.
It seems that Facebook and Instagram are teaming up to take over messaging app world. But, according to The Verge, Bolt was and has always been Instagram’s idea. “Instagram still operates as an independent company with Facebook, we’re told, making its own decisions on most everything.”
You don’t need a Facebook username and password to log into Bolt. To find friends, the new app syncs with numbers in your contact list. Bolt allows users to tap on a friend’s face to immediately send a photo or press on the face to send a video. If the send is accidental, users can shake their phone to undo the send. While it all sounds great, there’s a big catch. Bolt is only available in select markets in New Zealand, Singapore, and South Africa as of right now.
In a statement by InsideFacebook, Instagram said:
“Bolt is the fastest way to share an image or a video – just one tap to capture and send. We decided to start small with Bolt, in just a handful of countries, to make sure we can scale while maintaining a great experience. We expect to roll it out widely soon.”
While Instagram’s Bolt sounds like an exciting transition, it has been the smoothest endeavor. Earlier this month, Instagram accidentally leaked the new app to a few users on Instagram. To add fuel to the fire, the rumors of Bolt’s arrival sparked an open letter urging Instagram to change the app’s name to avoid competition. We’ll see if Bolt is able to take off and gain popularity and put this drama behind.