Take a minute to visit Google Santa Tracker’s website and watch how the technology estimates the arrival and departure times of Santa’s sleigh.
Technology this year puts an interesting spin on the visual representation of the legend of how Santa delivers toys to all the boys and girls, worldwide. This year Google also invites Santa into visitor's homes in 3D through virtual reality.
Some believe Santa warps time to deliver all the gifts required. It really just takes algorithms and expert timing, similar to the way Google determines the timing and the location of serving an ad.
Santa's journey will last more than 24 hours this year, beginning in far eastern Russia at 5 a.m. Eastern Time on Christmas Eve, according to Google’s Santa tracker.
Google not only uses its mapping software in this high-tech tracker to route Santa’s route across the globe on Christmas Eve and determine the number of gifts delivered, but the tracker determines the exact departure and arrival times that eventually has old Saint Nick completing his route prior to the next morning.
An update to the site this year adds a giant augmented reality (AR) Santa that users can call up through their phone's camera lens. Users can do a Google "Santa Search" on their phone. Tap "View in 3D" under the top result. Hit the AR button. By searching for 'Santa Search' on your phone and clicking 'View in 3D', viewers can see Santa in their home.
And as with many other sites worldwide, Google uses browser cookies when visiting the page on desktop to remember search preferences, make the ads seen more relevant, count the number of visitors received to the page, help visitors sign up for its services, protect visitor data, and remember ad settings.
Google also built several games into the site, such as a map quiz that requires players to put together a map. Then there’s the place for Santa to take a selfie. The selfie allows site visitors to spray a variety of colors onto his white beard, even blow it with a hair dryer, even cut off the beard. There’s a Search for Santa section, Elf Maker, Rudolph Racer and more like the translator that takes holidays words and translates them into other languages.
Historically, Google has used the technology from the American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which has been running since Dec. 1, with a digital connection to the North Pole and Santa's Village.
NORAD now has Santa Tracker skill for Alexa.