So much for the soft launch! Instagram’s instant photo messaging app, Bolt, is now available in Australia. If you feel like ditching Snapchat for something slightly different, now’s your chance.
Bolt had previously only been launched in Singapore, New Zealand and South Africa. That’s changing this morning, however, with the app becoming available to Aussie iOS and Android users.
Like many of the ephemeral social messaging apps these days, Instagram’s Bolt messaging app allows you to snap a photo, throw it over at a friend and have them send one back. Whee!
The comparisons to Snapchat are obvious, as are comparisons to Facebook’s own Slingshot messaging app which — in a weird twist — doesn’t let you view the photos your friends have sent unless you send one back, guaranteeing that people will keep using it.
Oddly enough, 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 media. Once you take a photo or video using the Bolt camera, you’ll see the faces of your contacts in a row at the bottom of your screen. Tap once, and send. They receive it, and it disappears after a swipe. You can add text over the photos and videos (sounds familiar?) and reply directly with a photo or video. Comparisons to Snapchat are inevitable — like Snapchat, speed and back-and-forth conversations will be emphasized. Like Snapchat, the photos and videos sent disappear. You can only send media to one user at a time.
Kate Knibbs contributed to this report.