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Google's Santa Tracker Lets You See St. Nick's Journey Around the World, in Real Time

December 24, 2015 Aaron Miles

Screenshot via Google Santa Tracker Website

As of this writing, Santa Claus is flying over Malaysia. He's slowly making his way across Southeast Asia, having already delivered more than 2.25 billion presents on his journey around the world.

I know all this because of Google's Santa Tracker website, which allows you (and your kids) to keep an eye on jolly old St. Nick as he works his way around the world delivering presents. The Google Santa Tracker is similar to the long-running NORAD Tracks Santa, where the United States aerospace defense center also tracks Santa on his busiest day of the year.

Screenshot via Google Santa Tracker Website

Naturally, since Santa has now entered the digital age there are Twitter accounts for tracking Santa, YouTube videos to watch, and the chance to tweet, like, and share all the Santa news. There's even an app! Google's Santa Tracker also has factoids and geographical information integrated into the website so you and your kids can learn about the places Santa is delivering presents to.

The original misprinted ad, via Wikipedia

The story behind tracking Santa on Christmas Eve is an interesting one: In 1955, Sears placed an ad in a Colorado newspaper telling children they could call Santa on a provided number, which, serendipitously, was misprinted with the phone number for the Colorado Springs' Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center. Colonel Harry Shoup, the officer on duty at the time, told his troops to provide any kids who called Santa's "current location." This became an annual tradition which was taken over by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) when it supplanted CONAD in 1958.

Staff at NORAD actually use Google Analytics on the NORAD Santa Tracker website to project how many volunteers they'll need to answer the 12,000 emails and 70,000 phone calls they receive each Christmas Eve. The Google Santa Tracker and the NORAD Tracks Santa run concurrently, though they don't always agree on just what Santa's up to; while both currently have Santa in the same location, according to NORAD he's only delivered about 1.4 billion presents.

Either way, if you want to give your kids something educational to watch/distract them while you wrap some last-minute presents, the Google Santa Tracker and NORAD Tracks Santa are probably just what you're looking for, wherever and however you might be celebrating this holiday season.

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