Bolt: Did Instagram Accidentally Launch the Latest Snapchat Rival?

Jul 24, 2014 04:43 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

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Instagram appears to have accidentally launched a Snapchat competitor called "Bolt," similar to Facebook's recent Slingshot misfire.  

A few Instagram users have noticed a new link to a "one tap photo messaging" app named Bolt, but clicking the button leads to a dead end, The Verge reported. Found in the Instagram for Android app, the link apparently disappeared in about 15 minutes.

Bolt is assumed to be the latest Snapchat rival. The messaging app popular with tweens and teenagers has dominated when it comes to ephemeral messaging, sending around 400 million snaps per day that purportedly disappear after a few seconds.

Instagram may have been testing a new feature with a few users the same way that Facebook does. The Verge also speculates that Bolt may be the "one tap" messaging app involved in earlier rumors.

Facebook's Slingshot, which also sends photos and videos that evaporate after being seen, officially launched last month after a false start but hasn't gotten anywhere close to Snapchat's level.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly tried to buy Snapchat for $3 billion in cash last year, which would have been three times as much as Facebook paid for Instagram.

Zuckerberg has been working to specialize the world's biggest social network with a variety of apps. He spoke to The New York Times in April about "unbundling" Facebook's big blue app into smaller, more focused uses.

"I think on mobile, people want different things," he said. "Ease of access is so important. So is having the ability to control which things you get notifications for. And the real estate is so small. In mobile there's a big premium on creating single-purpose first-class experiences."

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