Instagram trial runs Bolt, its one-tap messaging app aimed at Snapchat

bolt

Instagram has begun rolling out a brand new app called Bolt. After the app’s name and icon recently leaked, Bolt has become available for download in the New Zealand, Singapore, and South African App Stores.

Bolt is basically a direct competitor to Snapchat, as it’s designed to send photos and videos to friends that disappear after viewing.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, is only making Bolt available in a few countries to begin with “to make sure we can scale the experience,” a spokesperson told The Verge. After bugs are squased during this limited rollout, Bolt will be made available in bigger countries like the United Sates.

Besides Snapchat, Bolt bears a striking resemblance to Taptalk, another popular messaging app. You can only send a message to one person at a time, and a row of four profiles at the bottom of Bolt can hold up to 20 people via swipe gestures. Quick tap on a profile to send a photo and long tap to send a video.

You can add text on top of photos, just like Snapchat. Bolt lacks an equivalent to Snapchat’s popular Story feature, but Instagram looks like it wants to take a more personal approach anyway. In fact, Bolt looks like an evolved version of Instagram Direct, a messaging feature built into the main Instagram app that never took off.

Given the utter flop that was Facebook’s Slingshot app, it will be interesting to see if Bolt can gain any traction in a crowded market of ephemeral messaging apps.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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