Lately, Instagram has this peculiar notification about a seemingly new app called “Bolt”.
Numerous Android users reported seeing a new banner-style ad on on the service, which featured a “one tap photo messaging” app called Bolt. The ad included what appeared to be an install button similar to the app-install ads from your Facebook News Feed.
The button was a dead link, however, and the ads were removed shortly after they appeared. “We don’t have anything to share right now,” said an Instagram spokesperson.
Social media experts guessed that Instagram could be testing app-install ads, similar to its parent company, Facebook. Instagram only began advertising last fall, and it seems too early for Instagram to have banner style ads to the platform, especially since the user backlash during the initial Instagram ads.
It’s also possible that Instagram and Facebook have another new app in its arsenal, and accidentally shared the news before it was ready. This has happened before when Facebook botched a product launch last month. The company accidentally pushed its Snapchat competitor, Slingshot, into the app store too early. It was removed shortly after and Facebook offered no real explanation for the incident.
Previously, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company would release more standalone apps in 2014, so another app wouldn’t be a major surprise. However, the idea of another messaging app would be a bit of cheesy, as the company has owned four solid messaging apps: Instagram, Messenger, Slingshot and WhatsApp. Plus, the recent changes to Messenger has already included a one tap photo sharing feature.
Hence, it is understandable that Facebook, along with other social companies like Twitter, love to test new features for a small group of users. It’s possible these Bolt banners, whether for a Facebook-owned app or a fictitious one, were simply a test.