I remember as a kid seeing red airplane lights in the sky and telling my mom Rudolph was coming. Children all over the world question Santa's coming -- whether by sleigh or by chimney -- every Christmas Eve.
How does Santa visit so many children in one night? Will he eat the cookies I left out? How does he fit all those presents into his sleigh? We may never know the answers to those questions, but Google is offering some insight into one timeless question: Where in the world is Santa at this very moment? Google's NORAD Tracks Santa function saps warp-speed GPS technology to let us know how close Santa is to our homes.
"It's getting very hard to find an aspect of our society in the global world that Google is not involved in," said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Gartner. "Google and Santa Claus ... it just shows us one more place where Google continues to leverage the strength of its brand."
How To Track Santa
If you want to track Santa, just go to NoradSanta.org and follow old St. Nick as he journeys around the world delivering presents to children in more than 200 countries and territories. Google outlined a few different ways to find the jolly old man in his unmistakable red suit over the course of the day: Google Maps, Google Earth plug-In, from your phone, via YouTube, or through Realtime Search.
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.
From NoradSanta.org, click on the link Track Santa in Google Earth. You'll see Santa steering his sleigh right on the web page. If you don't have the Google Earth plug-in, you can get ready by downloading it ahead of time. Or 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.
You can also subscribe to Santa's YouTube channel: Santa's home on YouTube is at Youtube.com/noradtrackssanta and 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.
History of NORAD
"For any techie questions you might have, we've also put together some helpful tips and tricks about all the cool ways you can experience Santa's journey," said Brian McClendon, original Google engineering elf. "Now that you know how to follow Saint Nick on Christmas Eve, it's our tradition to tell the story of how this all started ..."
McClendon goes on to explain that NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) first began to track Santa in 1955 when a misprinted advertisement in a Sears & Roebuck catalog mistakenly led callers expecting a Santa hotline to the NORAD commander-in-chief's telephone. Embracing the spirit of the season, NORAD used its satellite and radar capabilities to offer callers sleigh-location updates, and has tracked Santa's whereabouts on Christmas Eve ever since.
Then in 2004, Google started tracking Santa on Google Earth as a 20 percent project, which in 2007 grew into a partnership with NORAD, adding the mapping technology of Google Maps and Google Earth to the NORAD experience. Over the years, other Google teams have also joined in the holiday fun.
"As we approach this year's Christmas Eve adventure, Santa was able to take a break from the preparations to visit the New York Stock Exchange this past Monday," McClendon said. "His helpful elves kept everything at the North Pole on schedule while folks from Google and NORAD attended the closing-bell ceremony, and stood alongside Santa from Macy's going over last-minute details about tomorrow's big ride."
Posted: 2012-12-24 @ 9:25pm PT
Hey AllenCole: We just checked and he's on his way! Just waiting for all the kids to go to bed! <8-)>
Posted: 2012-12-24 @ 7:54pm PT
When is Santa coming to Houston Texas?
Posted: 2010-12-24 @ 7:28pm PT
when's Santa coming to brooklyn ny?
Posted: 2010-12-24 @ 6:09pm PT
Best thing that ever happened for kids. you are only a kid for a short while. Enjoy every bit of Christmas joy, including Santa. You are a grown up forever and it sucks.
Posted: 2010-12-24 @ 4:43pm PT
santa is coollllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
Posted: 2010-12-24 @ 1:18pm PT
what time will santa be in farnham
Posted: 2010-12-24 @ 1:08pm PT
you are right!
Posted: 2010-12-24 @ 11:00am PT
This is just another way for us to lie to our children. When I found out the truth, I was brokenhearted, because I realized I couldn't trust my parents. This led to my total rebellion against everything they taught me. Wake up, America! It may be fun for a little while, but we need to stop making our kids not trust us!