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Updated: Thursday, 31 July 2014 17:41 | By Pat Elicano,

How it works: A review of Instagram’s Bolt in Singapore

How it works: A review of Instagram’s Bolt in Singapore

Instagram first started out as an online mobile photo-sharing social network but fast track to 2014 and it is undoubtedly one of the go-to apps on anyone’s smart phone. Constantly developing themselves for the better, Instagram has gone from simply a shoot-and-post mobile application, something very similar to Twitter — only with photos — to now having a direct messaging and video-sharing function as well.

And with the amount of social networks out there, Instagram looks set to be the holistic social network with their new “one-tap” photo and video messaging application, Bolt.

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Bolt’s main feature is to deliver lightning-fast, ephemeral one-to-one video and photo messaging, hence the name. First released in three countries — Singapore, South Africa and New Zealand because of its high Instagram usage and deeply interconnected communities, the application looks to be on a test run before being launched worldwide.

And while many may immediately question this to be a Snapchat-copycat, we took a look at the app and found out for ourselves.

How it works: A review of Instagram’s Bolt in Singapore

Bolt’s minimalist interface might be confusing at first but retains aesthetic sleekness in true Instagram fashion.

It starts with signing up using your phone number, meaning it also takes in all of your contacts and you can simply select which few (up to 20) make it to your favourites list — a scrollable list of your friends for ease in sending photos or videos. The entire camera’s viewfinder fills the screen with only four buttons towards the top representing settings, text, flash and camera switch (for selfie mode) respectively.

Keeping true to Instagram’s virtue for clean and appealing aesthetics, Bolt’s user interface might be confusing at first but its minimal layout allows for optimal photo-capturing space. And putting a quirky touch, the app takes a refreshing approach with shutter buttons coming in the form of your favourite contacts’ photos. Simply click on their photo and whatever is reflected on your screen would be sent to them, all in a single touch.

How it works: A review of Instagram’s Bolt in Singapore

The ease of replying messages and photos are one of the highlights in Bolt.

Receiving photos or videos is as easy as sending them as a notification in the top center of the app signifies when you have a new message and keeping the ephemeral function of Bolt, you simply can swipe it away to delete it, with the option of replying with text or another photo as well.

If privacy settings are a big worry for you, fret not because Bolt or Instagram for that matter, will not be able to get a hold of whatever photos and videos that you and your friends will be sharing, allowing it to be a truly private conversation. Furthermore, Instagram’s Bolt photos and videos will be deleted from the mainframe servers once a friend has deleted it on their own Bolt, or when it hits the 30 day automatic delete mark.

How it works: A review of Instagram’s Bolt in Singapore

Other features in Bolt include this help and assistance interface.

While it remains to be seen how Instagram’s Bolt will truly standout without a standalone key feature — it only prides itself being a lightning-fast messaging service, this new development by Instagram is a refreshing take on the over-populated and cluttered social network industry.

Instagram’s Bolt is now available on the Apple app store in Singapore.

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