The Santa Tracker is up and running. It is that time of year when kid are interested in being good so they can be on the nice list instead of the naughty list. Santa Claus is coming to town, and kids get the chance to follow his route and watch what he is doing.
Google’s Tracker went live early this week. It takes place in a town near the North Pole where kids can spy on Santa and play new interactive games or access new videos every day. Each day a new game or video is unlocked by Santa’s elves, much like an electronic Advent Calendar.
Entertainment is not the only thing Google promises with the Santa Tracker. There is an educational aspect which give the kids tutorials on HTML coding. The Santa tracker also sees the return of the classic reindeer racing game.
Another bonus to Google’s Santa Tracker is that it is available online. Additionally, there is an Android app and Chrome extension that allow you to access the tracker on a smartphone, tablet, and even on a TV using the Google Chromecast. The presence of the Chrome extension allows tracking Santa’s journey from the North Pole to be put on the big screen.
The ease of use for both the website and the app have made Santa tracking easier for kids. Bright colors on the Santa-themed sites make following Santa’s journey until Christmas entertaining. The addition of the coding aspect that can be easily taught to kids makes it educational, but still fun.
NORAD’s (North American Aerospace Defense Command) Microsoft Santa Tracker offers many of the same optoins that Google does. Both have a countdown clock to Christmas and offer videos to watch and games to play that can be unlocked eacd day. Google may use Google maps to track Santa, where Microsft uses Bing to do the tracking.
After being a primary user of Google maps since 2007, NORAD moved away from Google in favor of being powered by a different map-based system. In 2012, Microsft’s Bing was the provider of maps for NORAD’s Santa Tracker.
Originally known as CONAD, Continental Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD has a rich tradition of tracking Santa that dates back to 1955. A local newspaper had printed an advertisement for Sears and Roebuck and a phone number that would allow children to call in and talk to Santa. The newspaper misprinted the phone number by one digit, and NORAD started getting phone calls on their operations hotline. Instead of panicking, they decided to play along and give children radar updates on Santa’s whereabouts.
In 1958, when NORAD replaced CONAD, a new phone number was dedicated to taking phone calls to track Santa. To this day that tradition is still upheld. With the Santa Tracker up and running online, via apps and Twitter account, kids can track Santa and see how far along on his route he is.
The Santa Tracker is up and running because Santa Claus is coming to town. Between Google’s Santa Tracker and NORAD’s Santa Tracker, Santa will certainly be on the radar this Christmas. Each tracker has games to play and videos to watch. There are even things for kids to learn while they are having fun waiting for Santa.
By Kerri Cushna
Photo by HeartLover1717 – Flickr License