Instagram appeared to unveil a "one tap photo messaging" app, called Bolt, to a few select users through the Instagram app on Android. However, when users tried to download the app through the banner advertising Bolt, nothing appeared in the Google Play Store. It looks like, once again, a Snapchat lookalike app got revealed in advance of launch by accident. Well ... by "accident."
Facebook, which owns Instagram, had a similar situation occur with Slingshot, their Snapchat duplicate. Slingshot was available for download in the app store for a very short time, before Facebook yanked it down, saying it was accident that it was released at all.
Here's what happened when a user tried to download Bolt:
This particular user, Richard Groves, told The Verge he received the Bolt banner on his Nexus 5 device yesterday at around 11:00 p.m. ET. He was using the official Instagram application, and estimates the banner was up for about fifteen minutes on before it disappeared from his app.
On the other hand, this might not be a Snapchat lookalike at all. Bolt is already the name of a communications app for Android, which was last updated about a month ago. Andrew Benton at Bolt confirmed to the The Wire via email that their app was launched this February.
Additionally, if Bolt is a Snapchat dupe, this would make Facebook and Instagram compete for
tweens users seeking ephemeral messaging services. So, if Facebook can't buy you, they will try to duplicate you. Twice.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.