Instagram today soft-launched its new Snapchat competitor Bolt in Singapore, South Africa, and New Zealand. First hinted at last week, Bolt is a one tap photo and video messaging app that allows users to send ephemeral images to friends, much like Snapchat.
As described by The Verge, Bolt is a "carbon copy" of Taptalk, another ephemeral messaging app. Users tap on a friend's profile photo to send a photo, or use a long tap to send a video. As with Taptalk, Bolt focuses on sharing with only a few friends -- users can only communicate with one person at a time, while in Snapchat mass snaps can be sent out.
Though designed by Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, Bolt is largely a standalone app. It does not require a Facebook log-in, instead letting users add contacts via phone number. As with Snapchat, users can caption images using a text editor.
According to an Instagram spokesperson, Bolt will be expanded to other regions in the near future after being tested in Singapore, New Zealand, and South Africa, three countries chosen for their geographical diversity and tight-knit communities.
Bolt is actually the second Snapchat competitor to launch this year under Facebook's umbrella. In June, the company launched Slingshot, a Snapchat clone with a twist -- after receiving a photo, users must send an image or video in return before being able to view content.
Users in New Zealand, South Africa, and Singapore can download Bolt from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]