Where's Santa? Google, Microsoft Track Christmas Journey
Tracking Santa's progress across the hemisphere on Christmas Eve has been a tradition worldwide for years, but the Internet, search and mapping technologies made it easier for sponsors like Microsoft and Google to support the endeavor.
The U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command now works with Microsoft, but Google, which previously worked much closer with NORAD, has continued its own version of the Santa Tracker using Google Maps.
NORAD's Santa Tracker has been running for more than 50 years. At 9:15 Pacific time on Tuesday, Dec. 24, Santa flew above Bangalore, India, and had delivered more than 1 billion gifts. The Web site, supported by Bing Maps, allows kids of all ages to click and view images of the cities, as well as the discovery of more information about them.
NORAD partnered with Microsoft Bing in 2013, for the second year. The site offers games, movies, music and history on its traditions. The Defense department also has pages on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
Last year, Microsoft powered the site with Windows Azure, as well as apps for Windows and Windows Phone, allowing site visitors to play and learn. This year, the Microsoft Internet Explorer team partnered with NORAD to rebuild the Web experience from the ground up, allowing visitors to discover new games daily, music, videos and more.
Microsoft made the Web site touch-enabled with various mobile devices. Site visitors using a browser like Internet Explorer 11can spin the globe with a swipe of a finger and pinch and zoom to get an in-depth look at Santa's stops.
Google now supports its own Santa tracker. The site lets visitors leave personalized voicemail messages. There's a YouTube page, which posts updates throughout Santa's travels. The Twitter page also provides real-time progress.