Last night, a number of Android-touting Instagram users noticed a peculiar banner within Instagram that previewed Bolt, a “one tap photo messaging [app].” Just as quickly as it had appeared for many, it disappeared. But not before a number of users captured and shared a screenshot, stirring up plenty of talk in the tech community.
The rather brief appearance of the banner is a bit ironic, considering Bolt looks to be a competitor of ephemeral messaging service, Snapchat. With zero confirmations on what Bolt is or isn’t, it’s left plenty of possibilities out in the open, some more viable than others.
One option many are pointing towards is that Bolt might be Instagram’s answer to Snapchat’s growing marketshare in the photo-sharing community. But, the addition of such a service to Instagram would seem trivial, if not completely useless. Besides Instagram’s own “Direct” feature, Facebook, the owners of Instagram just recently put out Slingshot, a direct competitor to Snapchat. Thus, such a duplication of efforts would seem rather futile.
Did anyone else get this weird bolt notification on their Instagram earlier? pic.twitter.com/SBrLH7qTTK
— areli i (@yo_areli) July 24, 2014
Another plausible option, brought up by TechCrunch’s Sara Perez, is that Bolt might just be a fictional, placeholder app for what may soon be “app install ads” within Instagram. Considering Facebook only recently started including ads in the feeds of Instagram users, the possibility for future “app install ads” makes sense.
For now, it’s nothing more than guesses. It could be a future app from Instagram or it might’ve been a little premature a/b testing of in-app advertising. What we do know is that Facebook/Instagram is up to something. We’ll be sure to keep an eye out and keep you up to date.
(via The Verge)