Instagram unveils Bolt, a new photo messaging Snapchat-like app

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It appeared by mistake a week ago as an in-app ad to some Instagram users and we’ve been crossing our fingers ever since to see whether this was just a case of an experiment gone wrong or rather something that the Facebook-owned Instagram team was keen on pushing out sooner rather than later. The latter seems to be the case as Instagram has just gone public with Bolt, its own take on the self-destructing photo and video craze that has hit the world.

Dubbed a Snapchat competitor from the get go, Bolt works in a rather simple way. First you’ll need to have friends that you can share the content with. How do you get those? Same way you get your Whatsapp contacts: the application will scan your phonebook for contacts and just like that you’re good to go. Tapping on a contact’s photo in the app will give you the option to share an image or a video with them. This photo or video will then self-destruct as soon as your friend views it. Simple as that.

There’s a catch to all this however: the application is only available to users in just three countries namely New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa. Even our friends from across the pond, the Americans, will just have to wait like the rest of us.

Instagram now follows in the footsteps of parent company Facebook and competitor Snapchat in the self-destructing photo-messaging “apps-race”. Facebook just released Slingshot the other day. Why would Instagram be interested in taking on the likes of Snapchat when it is already a success on its own? Well, while Instagram users share around 60 million photos on a given day, Snapchat users send an average of 500 million photos! Yes, half a million. Snapchat’s audience is mainly young people who text and share images a lot throughout the day. In fact, it is the thought of tapping into this enormous market that led Facebook to consider acquiring Snapchat a few months ago before those plans hit a snag and the company just went ahead with its own app plans that resulted in Slingshot coming about.

If you’re in either of the three countries where Bolt is available then this Play Store link will be of great help.

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