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NORAD’s Santa Tracker Returns, Partnered Up with Google

NORAD‘s Santa Tracker, which tracks Saint Nick’s flight around the world in real time using “warp-speed GPS technology,” is back for 2010, and once again, NORAD has teamed up with Google for Santa visualization in Google Maps and Google Earth. There’s also a NORAD Santa Facebook page and Twitter page.

Why is NORAD [North American Aerospace Defence Command] involved in any of this, by the way? Back in 1955, the Sears catalog ran an advertisement for a Santa hotline which accidentally sent callers-in to the NORAD commander-in-chief’s line; NORAD ran with it and it became a yearly tradition.

From Google’s LatLong blog:

  • See Santa on a Google Map: On your home computer or laptop, visitwww.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.

No FourSquare or Gowalla, though? Seems they’d be about perfect for the job.

(Google via TechCrunch via Phandroid | Official NORAD Santa Tracker)

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