It’s Christmas Eve — and that means millions of girls and boys are wondering how long until Santa Claus arrives at their homes. So where’s Santa right now? There are two major services to help: NORAD Tracks Santa and Google Santa Tracker. Below, our annual review to help you get the most out of either or both of these services, from the web to your smartphone to even an old fashioned voice-only phone.
Who Tracks Santa & How They Got Started
Once again, here are the two major Santa trackers for 2014:
NORAD — the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a joint US-Canadian military operation — has been tracking Santa for nearly 60 years, after receiving a phone call due to a misprint in a “call Santa” ad. The agency rose to the occasion and has been at it ever since.
The ad with phone number misprint that got NORAD tracking Santa Claus (source: NORAD)
Google has been tracking Santa since 2004, initially as part of its Google Earth service, then expanding over time. From 2007 through 2011, NORAD and Google worked together. Then in 2012, Google went out on its own.
For more about that, as well as more background on NORAD, see our other story this week:
The good news is that this means there are two, excellent and dependable services to use — and reasons even to use them both! And both are entirely volunteer run, by the way.
Why Is Santa In Different Locations?
If you look at both trackers at the same time, you might notice that NORAD and Google position Jolly St. Nick at different places. How can that be?
One reason is that they use different methods to track …read more