Bolt is Facebook’s answer to the one-tap messaging trend, which was made popular by apps such as Yo and Taptalk.
Bolt, which is being produced by Instagram, lets users send photos or videos quickly back and forth by turning a friend’s icon into both the camera button and the send button. It has soft-launched in three countries — New Zealand, Singapore, and South Africa — for “diversity” reasons, an Instagram spokesman told The Verge. Most of Instagram’s users (65%) are overseas.
Like Taptalk and another new app called Mirage, Bolt puts both the camera and the friend icons/send buttons on the same screen. Bolt allows four favourite friends to appear on the main screen, although up to 20 can be stored and accessed by swiping right to left.
Even though Bolt is technically run by Facebook, the app doesn’t let you find contacts by signing into the social network. Instead, you have to upload your mobile contact list, a popular solution used by Snapchat, Mirage, and Taptalk. Bolt is a one-to-one message app, so you can’t blast the same image to multiple people at once or to a list of followers.
While Facebook’s latest photo app, Slingshot, was a side project spawned in Facebook’s Creative Labs, the Instagram team sounds dedicated to seeing Bolt through. “We are totally behind this thing,” the spokesman told The Verge.
Here’s what Bolt looks like: