Why Singapore, South Africa and the Philippines Get Instagram's New 'Bolt' App First

PHOTO: Screen grabs from the new Bolt App.

Good things come to those who wait, right?

Users in three countries -- South Africa, Singapore and the Philippines -- are the first to get their hands on Instagram's new ephemeral messaging app, "Bolt."

Instagram chose the three countries for their geographical diversity and engagement within their communities.

"We're going to other regions soon, but are starting with a handful of countries to make sure we can scale the experience," an Instagram spokesman told The Verge. "Instagram has 65 percent of its users overseas, so an international launch, while different, is actually not all that out of order with what we do."

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While fans in the United States will have to wait for the new app, here's a sneak peek at how it works:

Users sign up with their phone number and can find friends through their contacts. There's also a favorites bar that holds up to four friends, but allows users to add up to 20.

PHOTO: Screen grabs from the new Bolt App.
Bolt
PHOTO: Screen grabs from the new Bolt App.

Now it's time to take a photo or video.

Simply hold down on a friend's photo. Once users lift their finger, the media is sent to a friend.

The concept is simple and fast, which can be a double-edged sword. Unlike Snapchat and other ephemeral messaging competitors, there is an option to undo an accidental "Bolt" by shaking your phone after it is sent.

Bolts are sent one on one, keeping the exchanges personal. Once the recipient swipes the photo away, it is supposed to disappear forever.

In June, Facebook, which owns Instagram, introduced its own ephemeral messaging app, Slingshot.

The app takes a "pay to play approach." Before you can open that ugly selfie from a friend, you're going to have to send something in return.

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