Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has launched a new messaging app for iOS and Android called Bolt.
This is the first new standalone app from Instagram, a spokesperson said, and it launched in only three countries, with South Africa among them.
The other two launch regions are Singapore and New Zealand.
According to Instagram, they plan to expand to other regions soon, but decided to limit the launch to certain countries to see how well the product scales.
Bolt seems to be going toe-to-toe with the popular messaging app SnapChat, which offers users a way to send photos and videos to one another that are then automatically deleted after a certain time.
Instagram has opted for a somewhat different mechanic with Bolt, letting the recipient decide whether to keep (by screenshotting) or destroy the message by swiping it away.
Bolt vs Bolt
A possible point of conflict for Bolt is that there is already a communications app of the same name on Android.
Bolt Technologies has had an app in Google Play which offers free voice calls over data networks (similar to Skype and Viber) for some time now.
Like Viber (and Instagram’s Bolt) it is linked to your phone number, rather than requiring you to create a username.