Instagram has a new stablemate today, with the release of Bolt, an instant photo messaging service similar in ways to Snapchat.
Bolt is now available to users in selected countries — New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa. We’re told that Bolt will rollout for users elsewhere to download from Google Play “soon”.
While Australia waits to get access to the service, it seems that there’s some controversy surrounding Facebook Inc’s use of the name Bolt. Bolt Technology Inc have requested that Facebook consider changing the name of their new service, as the company believes that users would be confused between both apps with the same name and similar nature.
The current (non-Facebook) Bolt app, which is has been developed by Bolt Technology Inc and has been available on both the App Store and Google Play for some time, isn’t a photo messaging app; its current goal is to replace your phone carrier’s voice and SMS plan.
A screen shot of Bolt Technology Inc’s Bolt app from Google Play.
Bolt Technology CEO, Andrew Benton, has taken to the company’s blog, urging Instagram (and Facebook) to use another name so that the two parties can avoid legal nastiness. Benton has also told TechCrunch that it already filed a trademark application for the name “Bolt” as it relates to mobile messaging. This current application is still pending with US authorities.
At this stage, it doesn’t appear that Facebook has responded to the concern. However, they are talking about what their Bolt app can do, telling Mashable:
Bolt is the fastest way to share an image or a video — just one tap to capture and send. We decided to start small with Bolt, in just a handful of countries, to make sure we can scale while maintaining a great experience. We expect to roll it out more widely soon.
The app borrows features from both Snapchat and Facebook’s own Slingshot. Users then sign up for the messaging app with their phone number and add up to 20 friends to their favorites list. Users then can either begin shooting and sending photo and video messages to their friends via a single tap and then like Snapchat and Slingshot, users can then add text captions to the selected videos or photo’s they send to their friends.
Screenshot of Instagram’s Bolt app from Mashable
The only downfall with Instagram’s Bolt app is that users can only send messages to one person at a time and can have no more than 20 people from their contacts added to their network at any given point. Users can respond to photo and video messages with text or photo replies and messages will disappear as soon as they are swiped away. This is similar to what Snapchat and Slingshot provide.