Friday, December 21, 2012

2 Santa Trackers for Christmas 2012 -- NORAD and Google

Google really is everywhere, including the North Pole. And that's just fine, if they keep coming up with great ideas like their SantaTracker.

In addition to using Google Maps to track Santa's progress on Christmas Eve, their Santa Tracker includes a tour of Santa's Village with games and a great tool you can use to send messages to friends and family.

The games include a present drop into chimneys, an elf on a jet pack racking up points by capturing gifts, candy and holiday bells, and a sleigh racing game.

The messaging tool steps you through a series of questions to create a personalized message from Santa on your gift list. You can then send the message in a variety of ways--a phone call, email, etc. The voice quality is great and the message sound really natural.

In addition to following Santa through any web browser, you can also get an Android App, a Chrome extension and a Google Earth App (in 3D).

NORAD's Santa tracker was featured in this blog last year. Their Santa tracker won't start until Christmas Eve, of course, but meantime you can play a variety of games including a word scramble, maze, connect the bulbs to light up a Christmas tree and more. You can set the skill level on some of the games, making them as easy or hard as you want.

NORAD works with Microsoft and Bing to track Santa and recently released a Windows 8 version of its Santa tracker app. You can also get the NORAD Tracks Santa app for iOS (iPhones), Android and the web.

We all know how important it is to know Santa's progress on Christmas Eve, so you might want to use both so that your little ones know when it's time to go to sleep, so the jolly old elf can leave presents under the tree and candy in their stockings.