Track Santa’s location this Christmas Eve with the Google & NORAD Santa tracker apps, which are now live worldwide.
Simply type “Where’s Santa?” into the address bar and you can follow Old Saint Nick in realtime as he travels from city to city.
Google’s Santa tracker app features a live map which shows Santa’s current location, a counter of gifts delivered, and an estimated time of arrival to your location.
Santa will visit more than 500 locations, which you can learn more about through galleries of photos taken by Google’s Local Guides.
In addition to a live map, Google’s Santa Tracker mini-site is packed with a selection of extras that keeps growing from year to year.
Google has been building on its Santa Tracker hub since it launched in 2004.
In previous years, Google has used this hub to experiment with new technologies that later became permanent additions to search results.
Most recently, in 2019, Google debuted the “View in 3D” feature on the Santa Tracker hub. This allows users to view 3D objected via augmented reality (AR) through their phone’s camera.
Google Engineer Dave Holmes attributes his learnings to the work he’s done on the Santa Tracker:
“We figured out how to do so many different things because of Santa Tracker — how to build things, how to launch things, how to make things accessible, how to improve web design, how to optimize tools. I like to say that everything I’ve learned at Google, I learned from Santa.”
Lessons learned by Google’s team via its work on the Santa Tracker have benefited other areas, like Doodles and apps developers create for events like Google I/O.
Google’s Developers aim to make the experience better and more interactive each year.
To explore everything that has been developed to date, see the full Google Santa Tracker mini-site.
From the main site you can install a desktop app for Chrome. Google also offers a Santa tracking mobile app for Android.
NORAD Santa Tracker
We can’t talk about tracking Santa without mentioning the tracker that started it all.
The original Santa Tracker, run by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), is once again live for its 66th year in a row.
You don’t have to do the math to recognize that 66 years ago is decades before the internet ever existed.
So how has the NORAD Santa Tracker been around for so long?
It was originally launched via phone lines, which are still operational!
In addition to following Santa’s journey on a dedicated website, NORAD continues to operates a call center.
Should you find yourself somewhere without internet connection this Christmas Eve, dial 1-877-HiNORAD (1-877-446-6723) to get an up-to-date report on Santa’s location.
NORAD will provide live updates throughout the day on its social media channels, so you can track Santa on Twitter as he travels around the world.
Like Google’s Santa tracker, NORAD offers a variety of extras such as games, videos, music, a live Santa Cam, and more.
From the whole team at SEJ, a very Merry Christmas to all!
Featured Image: Screenshot from blog.google/inside-google, December 2021.