One of the weird Christmas traditions over the years has been the Santa tracking carried out by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). They track Santa’s progress as he makes his way over the world, delivering presents to children. Through NORAD, people can view where Santa is at any moment and when he will reach their home. One major change made by NORAD 2012 was that they opted for Bing over Google Maps to track Santa’s journey.

NORAD Ditches Google for Bing to Track Santa

Google Maps had been NORAD’s choice for half a decade but this time they have opted for Google’s rival Microsoft. While Google’s and Microsoft’s map services are relatively new, NORAD has been tracking Santa for over six decades now. NORAD made use of Bing Maps in addition to the Windows Azure cloud computing platform to help children see the trip made by Santa and his reindeers across the globe.

This year also saw the launch of apps for tracking Santa which can be used on the new Windows 8 Phone devices. Also, anyone running their computer on Windows 8 can download the app and track Santa as he made his way to their home. NORAD didn’t restrict their service to Microsoft though. The apps were made available for Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Also, Android users could also see where Santa is going next.

The official word from NORAD was that Google and NORAD had a mutual understanding regarding the split. A NORAD spokesman acknowledged Google’s contribution to the project over the years and how they had helped improve it considerably. However, there has been no response from Google even though various news outlets have asked them for it. Some users complained that their experience using Google for NORAD’s Santa tracking had been impeccable and there was no need for the switch.

According to estimates made before Christmas day, NORAD had stated that 25 million people would be following Santa as he makes his way from the North Pole to different parts of the world. The actual number of people who did follow Santa has not been revealed but the reports suggest more than 20 million people did follow Santa through the internet, smartphones and email. NORAD had also installed special Santa cams to allow people to actually see where Santa was in addition to the map.

Though official word has yet to be made, there is no doubt that NORAD’s decision to use Bing over Google has worked and people enjoyed tracking Santa’s progress.


[Image via intothevoid]