Bolt: Everything you need to know about the new Instagram app to rival Snapchat

Joe Hall
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Bolt from the blue: Will Instagram's new app be as popular as Snapchat? (Source: Getty)

Bolt is the new instant messaging app from Instagram. Available on iOS and Android, the app allows users to send photos to their friends with one tap.

On Bolt, your friends are listed at the bottom of a camera screen and their icons act as the shutter. Click on their face, send them the photo. Simple as that.
Any Bolts you’re not happy with can be quickly deleted with a quick shake of the phone.
All sound good to you? Can't wait to get sharing? Well, unless you're based in South Africa, Singapore or New Zealand, you're out of luck. For the time being the app is being restricted to these countries as the honchos at Instagram test the waters before releasing it on a wider scale.

Does Instagram really need another photo-sharing app?

The threat of Snapchat is real. Very real.
According to reports, the self-deleting photo app currently has roughly 16.5m daily users who send around 700m photos and videos per day.
Yet Snapchat is not the only app Instagram need to worry about. Facebook’s Slingshot app, TapTalk and Mirage all other similar services to Instagram’s direct messaging function.

Will Bolt work?

It's hard to say before we have any real indication of Bolt's lasting popularity amongst users, but early reviews of the app have not greeted the app with universal acclaim.
The Next Web describes it as having “frustrating” flaws and argues that it may not be “compelling enough to convince people to shift away from Snapchat just yet”.
TechCrunch, meanwhile, claims that Bolt doesn’t have enough unique elements to distinguish itself from the rest of the photo-sharing pack. Yahoo agree, arguing that “Bolt isn’t all that different from Snapchat”.

Anything else to know?

Bolt may not be called Bolt for much longer. Instagram have been asked to come up with a different name by Andrew Benton, CEO of another app also called Bolt.
Benton's app offers Android users a free-calling service that does not require users to check whether their contacts are also using the service before calling them. In a blog post he called upon Instagram to "remember the little guy".
Benton said: "We don't want a legal battle over this, and we think it's not too late for you to consider an alternate name before launch.
"Please do the right thing, and choose an alternate name."

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