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They’re back! NORAD and Google are back again with the NORAD Santa Tracker, tracking Santa Claus as he wends his way across the Earth. The festivities will start at 2:00 am EST on Christmas Eve.
It’s an annual event, and the NORAD Santa Tracker is more mobile than ever before. As Google notes on its LatLong blog, you can use the NORAD Santa Tracker in a variety of ways.
The NORAD Santa Tracker began as a “service” in 1955. A local Sears store in Colorado misprinted a telephone number. It was one digit off and children who thought they were calling Santa were actually calling the Continental Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD’s predecessor) instead.
Since then, NORAD, never known for its sense of humor, decided to err on the side of caution and developed its Santa tracker, to make sure it was really St. Nick invading U.S. airspace annually. The NORAD Santa tracker has improved each year.
In the old days, one would tune into a local TV station to see where Santa was, generally during the weather. Now, however, it’s just as simple as browsing the web. In fact, it’s become even easier than all that. As Google notes:
- See Santa on a Google Map: On your home computer or laptop, visit www.noradsanta.org and choose your preferred language. You’ll see a large Google Map on the page displaying Santa’s current location and his next stop. Click the video icons to watch “Santa Cam” videos, and click the gift icons to learn more about each city.
- Watch Santa fly with the Google Earth Plug-in: From www.noradsanta.org, click on the link Track Santa in Google Earth. You’ll see Santa steering his sleigh right on the webpage. If you don’t have the Google Earth plug-in, you can get ready by downloading it ahead of time.
- Follow Santa on your phone: Track Santa from your mobile phone by opening Google Maps for mobile and searching for [santa]. Or, visit m.noradsanta.org on your phone’s browser.
- Subscribe to his YouTube channel: Santa’s home on YouTube is at http://www.youtube.com/noradtrackssanta. That’s where you can find videos from his journey throughout the night.
- Get real-time information about Santa’s location: Use Google’s Realtime Search to get updates from social networks, news and micro-blogs like Twitter at @noradsanta, and keep up with news about his journey on this Facebook page.
- Additionally, OnStar-equipped vehicles can track Santa via that add-on vehicle service.
Google began tracking Santa in 2004. Since 2007, it has partnered with NORAD on the NORAD Santa Tracker, adding Google services like Maps, Earth and YouTube to NORAD’s system. Watch NORAD video of its 2009 Santa tracker in the sidebar.