NORAD — the North American Aerospace Defense Command decided to switch from Google Maps to Microsoft’s Bing maps for its annual NORAD Tracks Santa project. http://www.noradsanta.org
This is the first time NORAD is inserting Bing maps into the interactive experience. Smartphone apps will track Santa this Christmas, allowing families to spot and pinpoint Santa through Bing maps on the iPhone, and Android and Windows Phone 8 smartphones.
NORAD relies on technology to reach a broader audience through its website, which includes families around the world. Twenty-nine percent of the site’s visitors are from the UK, 7 percent from Canada and 5 percent from Japan.
Technology has exponentially increased the tracking of Mr. C and that technology also includes social media. Yes, Santa Claus tweets.
NORAD’s Santa tracker has a Twitter following of close to 95,000, a Facebook page with well over a million likes and over 4,000 Google+ subscribers.
NORAD began tracking Santa from Peterson Air Force Base in 1955 when a child accidently called the base in hopes of speaking with Santa Claus. The phone number was misprinted in a Sears newspaper ad. Children placing calls to Santa were actually sent to Peterson Air Force Base via the typo, and folks at the Air Force Base played along.
Only on the Internet could you find tech companies competing to track Santa.
But Google’s not giving up on the business of tracking Mr. Big. Using its Google Earth and Google Maps products they are tracking The Chairman of Jolly on its own this year with a brand new algorithm. http://www.google.com/santatracker
You’ve got two Santa tracker options to pick from starting on Christmas Eve. But how can they both be right?
The new Google Santa Tracker does not only live online. There is now a new Chrome extension and Android app to let you follow Santa.
Google’s got more to offer kids as far as entertainment goes. They have an entire Santa site where you can provide information about your a friend or family member and have Santa give them a call or send them an audio message via email. There’s also a few online games. The Santa Racer game lets you steer Santa’s sleigh through a track and collect presents and the Present Drop game lets you drop presents into moving chimneys.
Both Google and NORAD will begin actually tracking Santa on Christmas Eve. No word on if Santa himself plans to use Google or Bing Maps to get to all his destinations.
Let’s hope that Rudolph is ready to go "old school" with or without the power of the Internet. I think Rudolph “nose” to steer clear of using Apple’s maps this year (FAIL) that’s for sure!