Bolt app launches as Instagram's way of taking on Snapchat

Facebook-owned Instagram has quietly launched Bolt, a new messaging app that lets you send brief photo and video messages from mobile devices.

A bunch of leaked screenshots from last week revealed Instagram was developing a Snapchat competitor called Bolt - even though Facebook itself recently launched a Snapchat-like app called Slingshot. According to the leaked screenshots, Instagram had alerted some users about a new "one tap photo messaging app" called Bolt. The alerts appeared as banners within the users' Instagram feeds but featured a dead link to app stores.

It's not clear why Facebook would let the Instagram team develop Bolt when Facebook recently released Slingshot, but nevertheless the messaging app is now live in both Apple's App Store and the Google Play Store. You can use Bolt to fire off quick messages that'll eventually disappear as well as caption photos and organise favourites. It's very clear that Bolt - much like Facebook's Slingshot app - is meant to directly rival Snapchat.

READ: Instagram leak reveals Bolt

While it's possible Facebook is trying to leverage the Instagram brand to take down Snapchat if it cant with Slingshot, you should keep in mind that Instagram has a user base that only uploads about 60 million Instagram photos/videos a day.

That figure might seem like a lot...until you compare it to numbers from Snapchat's active user base. They send about 500 million snaps per day.