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Instagram Intros Bolt, an Instant Messaging App Aimed Against Snapchat

There is a new instant messaging app available for Android users, brought to you by the same folks who gave you what some may call the greatest photo sharing application of all time. Instagram, which was purchased by Facebook last year, has announced and released Bolt, a new message/picture sharing application aimed directly at Snapchat

With Bolt, users can quickly snap a picture or record a video, then send it to a single person. The idea of sending a message to just one person is basically the only difference between Bolt and Snapchat, which allows users to send a Snap to however many people they choose. Once a picture or video has been viewed, the recipient can swipe the message away, then it is gone forever.

In addition, unlike Facebook’s own abomination of a messaging app called Slingshot, the emphasis is truly put on the fact that you can only message a single person at a time, while Slingshot is catered to the mass sharing of a single image. Why there really needs to be multiple apps to basically do the same thing, please don’t ask us. And let us not forget that Instagram has a private messaging feature built directly into its application already, thereby making Bolt seem even more like a way to snipe users from Snapchat.

At this time, Instagram has decided to launch the service in New Zealand, Singapore, and South Africa. More than half of Instagram’s user base is overseas, so the company is looking to piggyback off of those communities first, before releasing to hungry Americans.

instagram bolt

Below, a full feature list can be viewed.


  • One tap takes a photo or records a video. As soon as you lift your finger, it sends.
  • Photos and videos are always unedited so people can see the world as you do.
  • Easily caption photos and videos.
  • Go back and forth by replying to your friends with text, photos or videos.
  • Swipe photos away and they’re gone.
  • Organize your 20 Favorites in whatever order works for you.
  • Sign up with your phone number, no email address needed.

What is your take on every company trying to compete with one another in the instant messaging game? Is it not the most redundant waste of resources you have ever seen? As a quick note, you should know that a service named Bolt already exists in the mobile space, and its CEO has written an open letter to Instagram, asking them to change the name of its new messaging service. The plot thickens.

Please, share your thoughts below in the comments section.

Play Link (Not available for US residents)

  • billjohnson777

    For me it’s saying that it’s not compatible with any of my devices? O_O

  • Colin Huber

    Tim loves Instagram.

  • Jimmy Leang

    Does anyone have the APK. I want to try it.

    • Gandalf

      You’ll need a number in one of the launch countries to use it.

      • Jimmy Leang

        That can be arranged.

  • BoFiS

    UGH, the icon is kinda Motorola-like imo, but Hangouts supplants ANY desire I have for any other messaging client or service, it does SMS, it does chat, it does video, it’ll even do Google Voice “soon.” I can view and search logs (with images) in gmail (on desktop at least for now) and resume, start, continue, or finish conversations between any device including computers quite easily and seamlessly. That’s my biggest complaint about basically anything else, like this or what’sitapp, they are too locked to just the phone to be as useful.

  • Terry

    If you’re desperate..

    1. Google for the app – com.instagram.bolt
    2. Sign up for an NZ # on Hushed ($8)
    3. Have the Hushed number forward to your phone
    4. Install Bolt, sign up with Hushed number
    5. Wait on the invite confirmation page to prompt to call you instead
    6. Tap call
    7. Answer quickly! Write down your 6 digit invite code
    8. Enter code
    9. Use app

    You can’t change your phone number though, so be advised when using this method.

  • frankyblike

    I will stick with snapchat

  • Howard Lin

    Does anyone else think the logo looks like QuizUps logo?

    • Ryan Dombroski

      It looks like the Facebook Messenger Logo

      • Howard Lin

        Haha original logos are rare nowadays in apps

  • So facebook introduces a Snapchat competitor, it fails miserably. So they figure what the hell, we bought Instagram, maybe if we make something else and say “made from the Instagram team” everyone will love it. Face it, anyone who likes the idea of Snapchat already uses it, they won’t switch to something none of their friends are on.

  • I’m too old for this shxt… Lol

  • Aria Saarkia

    Not available in UK either.

  • Droid Ronin

    Didn’t instagram already have an option to send photos to a single user?

    • Arian

      Yes, they have a direct messaging option, but no one really uses it at all. It was cool for like, 3 days

  • Cael

    So basically if it’s never swiped away people can keep it? Fail.

  • jwildman16

    Just sayin’…

  • Waldi G

    Looks like they just stole this apps design https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.bolt.android&hl=en … and name

    • Christopher Bement

      That’s a dialer…but yeah the name and icon…

  • FortitudineVincimus

    Awesome… we really needed another app like this given the other 19 apparently don’t get the job done like THIS one will.

  • joseph barrientos

    this is getting sad. the market is so saturated with messaging clients, its like watching TV and every channel now has a prank or reality show. wheres the innovation? the fun? excitement in app building that makes users say YES I WANT THAT. this app will fail after a few weeks and I won’t be sad to see it go, I can bet a majority of users will feel just like the rest of us tech geeks and will say, why not just keep using Snapchat? these companies just piggyback off of someone’s already WELL known and established project that they couldn’t buy. big babies.

    • jasenm

      Agreed. I still prefer Google+ over Facebook though. 😀

  • Cool icon at least

    • connie

      looks like they borrowed the design from Moto’s icons

      • I can see that! Looks nice.

      • It’s actually the Facebook Messenger icon on its side lol