Google Santa Tracker vs. NORAD - Let The Tracking Begin!

23 December 2012, 2:00 pm EST By Alexandra Burlacu email: Mobile & Apps

With Christmas just around the corner, two companies - Google and NORAD - are now going head-to-head to track Santa across his jolly holiday route.

NORAD has been tracking Santa since 1955, and last week the company has announced its new Internet Santa service. After all, where else could one find two companies competing to tack Santa if not on the Internet? While NORAD is still tracking Santa and his sleigh on Christmas, the company has replaced Google Maps with Microsoft's Bing Maps.

Despite NORAD's move, Google is not ready to give up on the business of tracking Santa Claus. The search giant has decided to track Mr. Claus on its own this year, using its Google Earth and Google Maps products, as well as a new algorithm. What does this mean for the end user? Well, it means that two Santa tracker options are now available starting Christmas Eve.

"While we've been tracking Santa since 2004 with Google Earth, this year a team of dedicated Google Maps engineers built a new route algorithm to chart Santa's journey around the world on Christmas Eve,| Brian McClendon, Vice President of Google Maps and Google Earth, announced earlier this week.

Google's new Santa Tracker is available live on the Web at this link, but the search giant also offers a new Chrome extension and Android app to let users follow Santa. Meanwhile, NORAD has worked on its apps in partnership with Microsoft, and its Santa Tracker is available for the iPhone, as well as Android and Windows 8 smartphones.

Google, however, seems to have more to offer in terms of entertainment. The company has built up an entire Santa Web site, allowing users to enter information about a friend or family member and have Santa give them a call or send them an audio message via email.

Moreover, the search giant also threw in a few games into the mix. The Santa Racer game, for instance, allows players to navigate Santa's sleigh through a track and collect presents. With the Present Drop game, meanwhile, players have to drop presents into moving chimneys.

Both Google and NORAD will start actually tracing Santa on Christmas Eve. With all this competition, one question still lingers: would Santa himself use Google or Bing Maps to get around? Or perhaps Apple Maps?

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