Facebook Launches Instagram Bolt, Trades In Gifts

Instagram BoltFacebook-owned Instagram has launched its first companion app, Bolt.

Like Facebooks own Snapshot, the app appears to be another attempt to compete with Snapchats popular messaging service. Bolt enables pictures and videos to be sent to friends taken from the devices contacts – not, notably, the users Instagram or Facebook friends – with a single press of a button, tapping to send a picture or holding for video. Received messages can be swiped through to immediately delete, and replied to via Bolt or SMS.

Apart from this emphasis on speed, perhaps the feature thats most reminiscent of Snapchat is the ability to undo messages immediately after they have been sent, using a shaking gesture.

The app is currently only available in just three pilot countries – New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa – with a wider rollout promised once trials are complete.

Facebook Gifts
Meanwhile, Facebook is sunsetting the Gifts service, which it introduced in September 2012 as a way of letting users send physical products from retail partners to their Facebook friends.

The service has been winding down for a while, with physical gifts latterly dropped in favour of gift cards, and will be shuttered fully on 12 August

“Well be using everything we learned from Gifts to explore new ways to help businesses and developers drive sales on the web, on mobile, and directly on Facebook,” said a spokesperson.