A bunch of leaked screenshots have indicated that Facebook-owned Instagram is currently developing a Snapchat competitor called Bolt - even though Facebook itself recently launched a Snapchat-like app called Slingshot.
According to several of the screenshots, Instagram has alerted some users about a new "one tap photo messaging app" called Bolt. The alerts have appeared as banners within the users' Instagram feeds. The Verge, which spoke to a few of the users who have witnessed the banners, said the "Free" install button didn't work when tapped and that the entire banner disappeared altogether for at least one user after 15 minutes or so.
It's not uncommn for Facebook to test features on some users and then launch them at a later date. It even accidentally releases products sometimes. The company, for instance, supposedly released Slingshot by mistake, then pulled the app, and officially launched it a short while later. Slingshot is like popular photo-messaging app Snapchat. Only you can't view shots from friends until you send them a return shot. That's right. Facebook has forced people to engage with friends.
It's not clear why Facebook would let the Instagram team develop a photo-messaging app when Slingshot exists, but the answer might be that Bolt isn't really an app. TechCrunch speculated that Bolt might be a fake app used to test "app install ads". Facebook recently began advertising app installs inside of Instagram, so it's not too far-fetched to imagine Bolt as a mock-up that is haphazardly appearing for some users.
Pocket-lint has contacted Facebook to get a confirmation or comment, and we will update if we learn more.