Friday, February 10, 2012

Greece is without Apple retail stores, but the Greek App Store contains plenty of offerings from Greek newspapers

Just as TNM was obsessed with events in Egypt a year ago, now the focus is on Greece. Blame it on being a news junkie. But the events in Greece, however, do make for a good excuse to look at the apps inside Apple's Greek App Store to see what is being offered, and what is popular.

Much of the world (and me, too) have their eyes glued to events in Greece as the nation struggles to overcome massive government debt, a divisive political atmosphere, and Euro partners that don't appear to be acting so much as partners but as bill collectors.

Strangely, I haven't looked inside the Greek App Store until this morning, checking on what apps are popular, and what news organizations are pursuing mobile and tablet publishing.

Apple does not have any retail stores in Greece (and probably won't for a while, I imagine), but they do have an App Store. Unlike the app stores for France or Italy, for instance, the Greek App Store is pretty much in English.

While there are quite a number of Greek news apps inside the iPhone section of the App Store, the only Greek media app to crack the top ten for the iPad is from the upstart Sunday paper Proto Thema (Πρώτο Θέμα, or First Theme). ProtoThema HD is a free app that gives readers a replica edition of the populist weekly.

Other apps, such as ΣΚΑΪ (Sky), are universal apps that basically bring in the website RSS feeds without much native formatting. Another, for the iPhone only, is Ethnos, a newspaper with a strong circulation.

(The top three iPad apps today in the Greek iPad Newsstand, by the way, are National Geographic Magazine-International, Guardian iPad Edition, and Newsweek for iPad.)

Today would be a good day to be reading these mobile and tablet apps. The Greek stock market is in free fall (dropping over four and a half percent) after the coalition partners first agreed to the terms of the newest bailout offer, only to have Eurozone finance ministers add more demands. The leader of the right-wing party Laos, Georgios Karatzaferis, has said that his party will vote "No" on Sunday to the new pact. But the move is completely political as they are a minor member of the coalition, and by bugging out now, they can force the main parties to take the blame for the new austerity measures if they approve the bailout in Parliament on Sunday.

In the meantime, Greece is in the midst of a 48-hour general strike. With a technocrat as Prime Minister, Lucas Papademos, who was appointed to his post, many on the street are feeling unrepresented in the government. The center-right party is positioning itself to win snap election, but recent polls show the Greek populous may be looking in another direction altogether.

Here is the promotional video for ProtoThema HD. Of course, it is in Greek, but you'll at least see the app in action:

The Guardian has launched a live blog today to cover events in Greece. But also of interest, they also launched a Flicker page (very inventive there) called Greece - life in an economic crisis.

The page allows readers to upload pictures to a central location, but offers the photographers some sensitive rules:
By posting your pictures here you a) acknowledge that you have created the pictures or have permission to do so; and b) grant us a non-exclusive, worldwide, free licence to publish your pictures as described. Copyright resides with you and you may reuse your pictures however you wish. You will be credited and paid if we make other uses of your pictures.
Already there are nearly 200 photos that have been uploaded. Many of them are excellent.