updated 05:18 pm EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
Singapore, South America, New Zealand residents first users of Android app
Instagram has done a soft launch of its own ephemeral messaging service application, Bolt. Download links for the Android-only app are active for users in Singapore, South America, and New Zealand for users to start using the app, designed to send one-to-one video and photos between users as temporarily as possible, given the nature of the Internet.
Users are identified by phone number. The app then ingests the phone's contacts for prospective Bolt recipients. A photo is sent to a favorite with a single touch of a picture, and a video with a tap and hold.
Bolt doesn't allow for a group-share, with only one user selectable at a time. Shots from a camera roll are not selectable for sending. Users receiving a Bolt get a notification, with no option to save the photo (apart from the "screenshot" feature available on most smartphones). An outgoing Bolt can be retracted in the first few seconds after sending by shaking the phone. Bolts not received within 30 days are deleted from Instagram's servers -- nothing is retained by Instagram.
No launch plans have been announced for other countries. The test countries were selected based on Android OS penetration, as well as heavy Instagram usage.