July 13, 2015 Last Updated 10:23 am

Greece capitulates to stay in Eurozone; Google and Sabre launch Book on Google initiative

Morning Brief: Kobo, Oyster and Magzter issue updates to their iOS apps, with all three platforms growing their title selections, designing or debugging their reading apps

The talks lasted all night and in the end Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras conceded to European demands in order to walk away with a deal that leaves his country on the Euro.

greek-flag-euIn the end, Tsipras had not prepared his country to reintroduce the drachma, and so his one trump card simply didn’t exist, and his fellow negotiators knew it. As a result, negotiators, led by Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, simply piled on the demands until Tsipras was forced into submission.

The deal is a triumph of power politics, and a confirmation that Germany rules Europe, but it is an end to the dream of a unified, democratic Europe.

Here is what the Greek government has agreed to:

  • Sweeping pension reforms that will leave many more retired Greeks poorer
  • Market reforms including Sunday trade and opening certain professions
  • Privatizing the electricity transmission network
  • Weakening collective bargaining rights as part of labour market reforms
  • Financial sector reforms including eliminating political interference in appointments
  • Selling off of €50bn in Greek assets

It was the last demand that led to the hashtag #ThisIsACoup trending on Twitter (for 9 hours the number one hashtag in the UK last night), and hope that pressure on the Europeans to lighten up their demands might lead to a deal.

Instead, every one, including Tsipras, knew that most Greeks preferred to stay inside the Euro rather than outside it – a decision they may regret has years go on – and so a deal was done to accomplish this.

Google-travelGoogle’s moves into the travel business expanded a bit with the launch of a Book on Google initiative. The initiative was announced last week by Texas-based Sabre and is now visible on Google Maps and Google Search results.

“When travelers search for a hotel on Google Search, Google Maps or Google+, they will be able to select the property and rate they want, and then book the room directly with the hotel without ever leaving the page, reducing the abandonment rate commonly seen when consumers have to switch sites to complete a transaction,” Sabre said in a statement.

The advantage to hotels participating in the program is that they now will only pay on bookings rather than clicks. But they will also now have to pay a commission on those bookings to Google and Sabre.

The move is a rather logical extension of Google’s travel ambitions, that have taken a bit of a zig-zag path over the years. Google, for instance, bought the Frommer brand travel book business from Wiley & Sons, only to sell it back to its founder Arthur Frommer in 2013.

Three different digital books/magazine services updated their iOS apps this weekend.

  • Kobo updated its Kobo Reading App, fixing bugs and now allowing readers to begin reading the eBooks before the download has ended (basically progressive downloads).
  • The Oyster reading app up has been updated to version 2.2.1, adding books from Macmillan as well a feature that lets readers see when a book is coming to its Unlimited service.
  • Magzter has updated its Magzter – 6000+ Digital Magazines app, redesigning the magazine reader and offering free access to news in more countries.

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