Instagram prematurely leaks its Snapchat rival

Instagram Bolt (banner 001)

Facebook-owned Instagram may have unintentionally (or intentionally, perhaps?) leaked an image advertising its rumored Snapchat competitor, indicating the official launch could as well be around the corner. A banner for an app called Bolt was spotted by several online users in Instagram’s Android app.

Tapping the banner would yield a dead end in the Google Play Store. Although the banner went away a few minutes later, people have already screenshoted it and the image is now making rounds on Twitter and other social media channels online…

The banner advertises an app called Bolt, billed as a “one-tap photo messaging” solution. Given that Snapchat currently rules the ephemeral photo messaging space, it’s easy to see who Instagram has in its crosshairs with Bolt.

Also: Instagram rules the photo-sharing market so building the photo-messaging functionality on top of its mobile photography expertise could yield killer results.

Facebook, like many other companies, frequently tests unreleased features before they launch and sometimes slip-ups like this happen. For instance, Facebook’s ephemeral messaging app called Slingshot briefly appeared on the App Store before its official debut a week later.

I’ve reached out to both Facebook and Instagram and will update if they respond with a comment.

What do you guys make of this?

Do you think Instagram’s Bolt can take on the likes of Snapchat?