Instagram's Snapchat Rival, Bolt, Just Launched in Three Countries

By Kate Knibbs on at
Instagram's new messaging app Bolt has launched in Singapore, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Looks like Instagram is leaving it up to an international delegation of message senders to decide whether its first standalone app is distinct enough from competitors. Here's how it works: Bolt signups require a phone number, not a Facebook or Instagram log in. It uses your phone contact list to create a roster of people to send photos. Once you take a photo using the Bolt camera, you'll see the faces of your contacts in a row at the bottom of your screen.

No word yet on when Bolt will be available in the US, but it's out on Android and iOS in its international debut. Like Snapchat, speed and back-and-forth conversations will be emphasised. As The Verge pointed out, the user interface closely resembles TapTalk, another photo-based messaging app. [TechCrunch]