Google & NORAD Santa Trackers show St. Nick already in flight for his 2017 trip around the world

It’s Christmas Eve in North America, but on the other side of the globe, Santa has already started his 2017 Christmas trip around the world to deliver gifts.

According to both Google’s Santa Tracker and NORAD’s Santa Tracker, Santa is approximately 14 hours from making his away to North America and has already delivered more than a million gifts.

NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) has been tracking Santa’s whereabouts since 1955 when a Sear’s department store ad mistakenly printed the phone number to NORAD’s headquarters as a hotline to find Santa. The military organization took up the call, and has been following through on the tradition ever since.

Google launched its first Santa Tracker in 2004 using Google Earth. In 2007, Google partnered with NORAD to track Santa, but then in 2012, Google went back to tracking Santa on its own and NORAD partnered with Microsoft.

(You can find out more about Google’s history tracking Santa in this Marketing Land story from 2014: How Google Became A Santa Tracker Tradition To Rival NORAD.)

Google’s 2017 Santa Tracker

Google is continuing its tradition of following Santa and his reindeer around the world this year, offering a number of ways to track where he is at any given moment.

There is the desktop tracker that shows Santa’s path via Google Maps. You can also download the Chrome extension for Google’s Santa Tracker, or the Android app.

In addition to tracking Santa’s whereabouts, Google displays approximately how long before he makes his way to your stop, and provides a “Live Feed” with animated updates from Santa and his elves.

NORAD’s 2017 Santa Tracker

NORAD’s Santa Tracker appears to be using both Bing Maps and Cesium mapping technology that lets viewers follow Santa’s journey in either 2D or 3D mapping images. There are photos of locations Santa has already visited along the bottom of the map that link to Wikipedia pages for each of the locales.

NORAD has also created quick videos of Santa’s stops so far, a list most likely to grow as Santa gains more ground.

NORAD will also send you Santa’s location if you email noradtrackssanta@outlook.com. Here’s an automatic response I received after sending an email with a subject line “where’s Santa” earlier today:

Also, much to my surprise, NORAD’s hotline number — (877) 446-6723 — has a live operator who will tell you exactly where Santa is at the time of your call, and where he’s headed next.

Whether or not you’re following Santa’s trek around the world tonight, Search Engine Land hopes you and your family are enjoying your holidays and wishes you a happy New Year in the week to come!

Google Santa Tracker is live, counting down the days until Christmas with holiday games & resources

Google has launched its annual Santa Tracker to count down the days until Christmas, serving up holiday games and educational resources.

This year’s offerings include coding games to make a dancing elf and one to create original artwork. There is also an elf filter available via a “Santa Snap” game on the Android app: “You can fly your jetpack-ed elf around the globe in Google Maps and take ‘elfies’ with famous world landmarks.”

Google’s Santa Tracker is available for Android, iOS and Chrome. Same as last year, there is an Advent-style calendar on the Santa Tracker home page that will continue to publish new holiday games and information between now and December 24.

So far, Google’s Advent calendar has offered a link to its Santa Tracker Android app, a code instruction game for building a snowflake, holiday translations and a link to the following “Day at the Museum” video:

Starting December 24, Google says the Google Assistant will be able to answer the question, “OK, Google, where is Santa?” to track Santa’s journey, find out how many gifts he’s delivered and learn about holiday traditions around the globe.

Where is Santa Claus? Your 2016 guide to Santa trackers from NORAD & Google

Where’s Santa Claus? When will Father Christmas arrive? Millions of children around the world are asking these and similar questions on Christmas Eve. To help, two there are two great services that stand ready: NORAD Tracks Santa and Google Santa Tracker.

As usual, Search Engine Land stands ready with its own tradition, to guide you to get the best from the services. Below, discover how to track Santa whether you’re using the web, a smartphone, watching TV or even if you want to make a voice telephone call.

The Santa trackers & how they began

There are many Santa tracking services out there, but we recommend the two below for 2016 as both are dependable, safe and will serve you well:

NORAD Tracks SantaGoogle Santa Tracker

How did NORAD and Google get into the Santa tracking business It began with NORAD and a wrong phone number in this ad:

The ad with phone number misprint that got NORAD tracking Santa Claus (source: NORAD)

NORAD is the acronym for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a joint US-Canadian military operation. NORAD has been tracking Jolly Old St. Nick for 61 years now.

It began in 1955, due to a mistake. A Sears store printed the wrong telephone number to call Santa in the ad shown above. That number rang the headquarters of NORAD’s predecessor, CONAD. The military group responded by giving updates on Santa’s whereabouts, a tradition that’s been going on ever since.

Google got involved with tracking Santa in 2004. First, it began on its own within Google Earth. From 2007 through 2011, NORAD and Google worked together to spot Father Christmas. In 2012, Google went back out on its own, and Microsoft became NORAD’s partner.

You can read more about Google’s Santa-tracking history in our article from last year: How Google Became A Santa Tracker Tradition To Rival NORAD.

How to search for Santa Claus

There’s a super easy way to find the location of Santa Claus. Just search for “Santa” on Google, and a box will appear at the top of the page:

Click on the link in the box, and you’ll be taken to Google’s Santa Tracker, where Santa’s location can be found. More details about that are below.

Last year, you could search for “Where’s Santa” on Microsoft’s Bing search engine and get his current location. That doesn’t work this year.

Search by voice

You can also use Google Now, the Google search app or Google Assistant to find Santa by voice. Just say “Santa” to get a result that reports his actual location. Here’s how the first two look when you do this, followed by the Google Assistant version:

This also works for those with Google Home if you ask “Where’s Santa,” as demonstrated further below.

Supposedly, Microsoft Cortana will show Santa’s location if you ask “where is Santa,” as one of the Cortana team members tweeted below:

don't forget you can track #santa with #cortana – ask 'where is santa' pic.twitter.com/d8mTwYw7WG

— rob margel (@robmargel) December 24, 2016

However, I can’t get that to work on my iPhone, Windows Phone or Windows desktop. On the phones, Cortana suggests visiting NORAD. On desktop, it gave me videos.

As for Apple Siri, it just jokes about Santa being either at the North Pole or at his beach house.

Finding Santa on a map, via the web

Another fast way to track Santa is to directly visit NORAD Tracks Santa or Google Santa Tracker on the web.

At NORAD, a 3D view of where Santa is currently located will appear:

At the top of the screen, you’ll see where he was last spotted, where he’s going and an estimated number of gifts delivered. You can use your mouse to click and drag to rotate the scene. Buttons in the top right allow you to zoom in and out.

Google has a similar map:

Google’s map displays where Santa is currently and maps his previous locations. If you scroll down, below the map you’ll find more about his distance from you, gifts delivered and Santa’s next stops.

Why do trackers show Santa in different places?

Some kids might be confused if they check both trackers find that Kris Kringle seems to be in different locations at the same time. How is this possible?

One reason is because NORAD depends more on radar and satellites to watch for Santa, while Google depends more on updates from wifi hot spots and cell phone towers. That can lead to some delays and differences. For more about this, see our more detailed story from 2013: Santa Tracking Explained: Why NORAD & Google Show Different Locations & Gifts Delivered.

The bigger reason is that Santa Claus is lightning fast. By the time he’s located in one spot, in a blink of an eye, he’s moved on to the next. That’s why when it’s bedtime, children really should get right to sleep. Santa could appear at any moment!

Where has Santa been?

The maps at Google and NORAD allow you to see all the places that Santa has already visited. Not all locations are shown. Santa visits everywhere. Showing every locaton would make the map too crowded! If you don’t see your own place, don’t panic. Santa has either already visited or will be soon.

At NORAD, to find where Santa Claus has been, use the 2D/3D button at the top right to reveal a 2D view of the world. The icons on the map show where Santa was previously spotted. Click on a camera icon, and search results from Wikipedia about the place will appear (last year, these were results from Bing).

Video camera icons should bring up actual video of Santa flying over locations. You can also click on the video camera icon in the top left to center the map around where Santa’s currently at:

As explained earlier, Google’s map will show all the places Santa’s been by default. Last year, you could click on any previous location to learn more about it. That no longer works, this year.

NORAD’s Santa Cam video

My favorite feature from the Santa tracking services is NORAD’s Santa Cam videos. These show Santa flying over landmarks in different cities around the world. Here is a screen shot of him flying over Sydney this year:

Here’s the actual video:

To see all the Santa Cam videos currently posted, click on the “Movies” link at the top of the NORAD site. That will open up a window with a video playlist.

NORAD also has a YouTube channel. Unfortunately, it doesn’t list its Santa Cam videos there, even though they are hosted on YouTube. Instead, you can only discover the latest ones through the NORAD site.

Google has video clips, but they don’t show Santa in flight, nor are they specific to any location.

Santa tracking apps

Yes, you can track Santa via app. NORAD offers them for Windows, iOS and Android:

AndroidiPhone / iPad / iOSWindows

All the apps do is take you to the NORAD site on the web, however. So, you can just go there in your mobile web browser and have the same experience, app-free.

Google only offers an app for its Santa tracker on Android, which provides basic tracking information. Google’s app also offers the ability to cast Santa’s location to a Chromecast-enabled device, which is nice. More on this is explained below.

Google also offers a browser extension for Chrome that puts an icon in the top right of your browser for instant access to Santa’s location. It’s very handy. Here’s how it looks:

Tracking Santa on TV with Chromecast

As noted earlier, if you have the Google Santa Tracker app for Android, you can send Santa’s location to a Chromecast-enabled device. Just select the Chromecast icon at the top of the app:

I had a little trouble getting it going on my TV this year. I had to restart the app a couple of times. It’s nice when it appears, though I miss the format last year that showed both current location and the time until Santa arrives in your location.

Tracking Santa through social media

Yes, Santa tracking can be done through social media. NORAD provides updates on Santa’s location through Twitter and Facebook (its Google+ account isn’t active this year).

Here’s an example of an update on Twitter:

Helsinki–Santa will be over Finland soon! pic.twitter.com/XC8dmHM5YZ

— NORAD Santa (@NoradSanta) December 24, 2016

Two years ago, Google provided updates via social media through its Google Maps accounts. Last year, it stopped. It hasn’t retuned this year with them, either.

Santa’s whereabouts with Google Home

Do you have Google Home voice assistant? Just ask “Where’s Santa,” and you’ll get one of several fun introductions along with his current location. Sorry, Amazon Echo owners. Alexa doesn’t provide a location. Here’s a side-by-side demo:

Google Home tells you where Santa is in a fun way. Amazon Echo doesn't know. Nor does Siri. https://t.co/AMxwrCr13A pic.twitter.com/T41gjtgJy1

— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) December 24, 2016

Here’s another of Google Home’s responses, with cool modem sounds:

Google Home with Santa location technology is the best. Love me the modem sounds https://t.co/AMxwrCr13A pic.twitter.com/OutamAf9vU

— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) December 24, 2016

Santa’s Location by email or voice phone call

Want an email update on Santa’s location? Just message to noradtrackssanta@outlook.com. You should get a response telling you his current location.

You can also make a voice telephone call to NORAD, just like how the whole Santa tracking thing started.

The number is 1-877-HI-NORAD (or 1-877-446-6723). If the line is busy, you may be told to call back or get a recording telling you to wait. Eventually, a real person will answer, usually a military volunteer giving up Christmas Eve to provide an update, including an estimated time of arrival at your location. Here’s an example of a call:

Huge thanks to all the military & other volunteers at @NoradSanta who give Santa tracking updates by phone like this. pic.twitter.com/ajmfr6mmlw

— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) December 25, 2016

Be sure to wish the volunteer a Merry Christmas!

And Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us here at Search Engine Land!

Note: This story was updated throughout the day to add some examples of Santa tracking in action.

Google's 2016 Santa Tracker signals the official countdown to Christmas

The countdown to Christmas Day has officially begun on Google with the launch of its annual Santa Tracker yesterday.

In addition to the countdown clock, Google also opened its Santa Village, offering a site for parents and educators with activities for K-12 students, a Santa Tracker app for Android and a Santa Tracker Chrome extension (in case you want to keep track of Santa’s “precise” location at all times).

For 12 years now, Google’s Santa Tracker has counted down the seconds until Santa Claus takes flight from the North Pole on December 24.

Santa’s dashboard — featuring the latest and greatest in Google Maps technology and sleigh engineering — will allow you to follow his progress around the world, and also learn a little about some of his stops along the way.

From the Google Santa Village website

This year’s Google Santa Village is designed to look like an Advent calendar, with a new activity for each day of December.

For the launch yesterday, Google had a “Present Bounce” game, and today’s activity included a link to an animated “Santa’s Back” YouTube video.

Google’s Daily Countdown to Christmas Calendar

Each day of December will offer a new surprise from Google, counting down the days until December 24, when Santa’s official journey begins.

Google isn’t the only one that regularly tracks Santa’s whereabouts. While Bing hasn’t launched its Santa countdown clock yet, Microsoft has partnered with NORAD for a number of years now to conduct its own Santa tracking.

Where's Santa Claus? Your 2015 Guide To NORAD Tracks Santa & Google's Santa Tracker

Where’s Santa Claus? When will he arrive? Those are questions millions of children around the world are wondering this Christmas Eve. To help, two wonderful services stand ready as usual: NORAD Tracks Santa and Google Santa Tracker.

We here at Search Engine Land also stand ready, as usual, with our own tradition: the annual review of both services and how to get the most out of them, whether you’re accessing them from the web or a smartphone, or even by making an old-fashioned voice phone call.

The Santa Trackers & How They Got Started

Once again, here are the two major Santa tracking services we recommend for 2015:

NORAD Tracks SantaGoogle Santa Tracker

Both are dependable and safe Santa trackers that will serve you well. Here’s some brief background about each of them.

The ad with phone number misprint that got NORAD tracking Santa Claus (source: NORAD)

NORAD stands for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a joint US-Canadian military operation. This year, NORAD is celebrating its 60th anniversary of tracking Jolly Old St. Nick.

It all began in 1955, thanks to a mistake. A Sears store printed the wrong phone number to call Santa in an ad, a number that rang the headquarters of NORAD’s predecessor, CONAD. The military group answered this unusual call to service by giving an update on Santa’s whereabouts, a tradition that’s continued ever since.

Google has been tracking Santa since 2004. First, it started on its own within Google Earth. Then, from 2007 through 2011, NORAD and Google worked together officially. In 2012, Google went back out on its own, and Microsoft became the NORAD partner.

You can read more about Google’s Santa-tracking history in our article from last year: How Google Became A Santa Tracker Tradition To Rival NORAD.

Search For Santa

The easiest way to find the location of Santa Claus is just to search for him. Enter “Santa” into Google, and a box will appear at the top of the page:

Last year, Santa’s current location was listed in that box. This year, that’s not happening. Instead, you have to click on the box. You’ll then be taken to the Google Santa Tracker, where Santa’s location can be found, as explained in a moment.

You can also use Google Now or the Google search app to speak your search. Just say “Santa” to get a result like the one above. Don’t say, “Where’s Santa,” as that doesn’t work with Google.

At Bing, search for “Where’s Santa,” and his current location will be shown:

If you click on the “Follow Santa” link, you’ll be taken to the NORAD site, as described below.

Those who use the Bing-powered Cortana can speak, “Where’s Santa” and get a reply with his location:

This works for Cortana on Windows, iOS and Android.

By the way, Apple Siri is no help. If you ask Siri “Where’s Santa,” she just replies with her standard joke of “The North Pole of course!”

Finding Santa On A Map, Through The Web

Another easy way to track Santa is by going to either NORAD Tracks Santa or Google Santa Tracker directly in your web browser.

If you go to NORAD, a 3D view of where Santa is currently flying over will automatically appear:

At the top of the screen, you’ll be shown where he was last seen, where he’s heading and the estimated number of gifts delivered. Use your mouse to click and drag to rotate the view. Buttons in the top right corner let you zoom in and out.

Google has a similar overview map:

The Google map displays Santa’s current location on the left side. On the right, you’ll see Santa’s distance from you, gifts delivered so far, his next stop and when he’ll arrive there. You can also scroll the column on the right side to see his previous locations, as explained below.

Why Do The Trackers Show Santa In Different Locations?

Some children might be confused if they check both trackers at the same time and discover that Father Christmas is showing up at different locations. How is this possible?

One reason is that NORAD depends more on radar and satellites to scan for Santa, while Google depends more on updates that come from WiFi hot spots and cellular phone towers. That can lead to some delays and, in turn, differences. For more about this, see our more detailed story from 2013: Santa Tracking Explained: Why NORAD & Google Show Different Locations & Gifts Delivered.

The bigger reason is that Santa Claus is super-fast. By the time he’s spotted in one place, in a blink of an eye, he’s already moved on to the next. That’s why when it’s bedtime, kids really should get right to sleep. Santa could appear in a flash!

Where’s Santa Claus Been?

You can use the maps at Google and NORAD to see the places that Santa has already visited. Not every place he’s been to will be shown. Santa visits everywhere, of course. Listing all those places would make the map too crowded! If you don’t see your own location, don’t worry. Santa has either visited or is still on his way.

At NORAD, to see where Santa’s been, use the 2D/3D button at the top right of the screen to reveal the 2D view of the world. The icons on the map show where Santa’s been previously spotted. Click on a camera icon, and search results from Bing about that area will appear. Video camera icons should bring up actual video of Santa flying over some places. You can also click on the video camera icon in the top left corner to center the map around Santa’s current location:

By default, Google’s map will show all the places Santa’s been. Click on any location shown, and the screen will change with more information about that place:

Alternatively, scroll through the feed on the right-hand side of the screen to see the places he’s been, mixed among videos and other status updates.

NORAD’s Santa Cam Video

My favorite feature from the Santa trackers is the one offered by NORAD, its Santa Cam videos that show Santa flying over different landmarks in cities around the world. Here is a screen shot of him flying over Sydney this year:

Here’s the actual video:

The easiest way to view all the Santa Cam videos as they are posted is to to click on the “Movies” link at the top of the NORAD site, which opens up a window with a video playlist:

NORAD also has a YouTube channel. However, it doesn’t list the Santa Cam videos there, even though they’re hosted on YouTube. Instead, the only way to discover them is through the NORAD site.

While Google has video clips, unlike NORAD, they don’t show Santa in flight, nor are they customized to any location.

Santa Tracker Apps

Yes, there are apps for tracking Santa. NORAD offers them for Windows, iOS and Android:

AndroidiPhone / iPad / iOSWindows 8 & 10

The Windows, Android and iOS apps work in a similar way to going to the actual web site (and if you’re on a Windows desktop, there’s no compelling reason to use the Windows app over your browser). Here’s how it looks on iOS:

Once again, Google only offers an app for its Santa tracker on Android, which provides basic tracking information:

The app does offer the ability to Chromecast Santa’s location, which is nice. More on that is explained below. If you have Android Wear, you’re also supposed to be able to get a Santa tracker face.

Google also offers a browser extension for Chrome that puts an icon in the top right of your browser for instant access to Santa’s location. It’s very handy. Here’s how it looks:

Tracking Santa On TV With Chromecast

As mentioned earlier, if you have the Google Santa Tracker app for Android, you can send Santa’s location to a Chromecast device or Android TV unit (such as Nexus Player). Just tap the Chromecast icon at the top of the app. Here’s how it looks on TV:

I love this. It’s a great way to stay updated on Santa’s progress without running to a computer or smartphone.

Tracking Santa Through Social Media

Yes, Santa tracking can be done through social media. NORAD provides updates on Santa’s location through the following services:

TwitterFacebookGoogle+

Here’s an example of how updates look on Twitter:

In the past, Google has done updates on Santa’s progress through its Google Maps social accounts. So far, that hasn’t happened this year. But in case it does return as Christmas Eve progresses, here are the accounts to watch:

Google Maps on Google+Google Maps on FacebookGoogle Maps on Twitter

Santa’s Location By Voice Phone Call Or Email

If you’re looking for low-tech ways to track Santa, you can send an email to noradtrackssanta@outlook.com. You should get an answer back telling you his current location.

You can also make a phone call to NORAD, the way the whole thing started. The number is 1-877-HI-NORAD (or 1-877-446-6723). If the line is busy, you might be told to call back or hear a recorded message asking you to wait. Eventually, a real person will answer, usually a military volunteer giving up Christmas Eve to provide an update.

That covers the trackers. While you’re waiting for Santa to arrive, if you want something fun to do, try printing out the special Google logos of paperhouses that are running and make them yourself. Google’s provided special templates, as covered more in our other story: ‘Tis The Season! For Holiday Google Doodles Of Papercraft Models & Cutouts.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us here at Search Engine Land!

Google Santa Tracker & Santa Village Go Live, Counting Down Days Until St. Nick Takes Flight

Google launched its Santa Tracker today, counting down the days until St. Nick takes flight on December 24.

Along with its tracker, Google also opened its Santa Village, where users can play coding games, learn about various holiday traditions across the globe and “get into the spirit of giving” with an entire page devoted to charitable organizations like the Jane Goodall Institute, the Nature Conservancy and SolarAid.

Santa’s Village is a hub of activity as the elves code algorithms to tune Santa’s sleigh, translate “Happy Holidays” into Elvish and Danish, and practice their cartography with Dancer, Prancer, Donner and Vixen… all to get Santa ready for his trip around the world.

Official Google Blog

Google says it will be adding a new experience every morning between now and the end of the month, available on desktops, Chromecast, Android Wear and its Santa Tracker Android App.

For today’s launch, the Santa Village included the following “Santa’s Back” video:

Google shared the news on both the Official Google Blog and its Google Maps Blog.

Postscript: The Santa tracker is now live with Santa’s actual location. See our story: Where’s Santa Claus? Your 2015 Guide To NORAD Tracks Santa & The Google Santa Tracker.

Where's Santa? The 2014 Santa Tracker Review, From NORAD To Google

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 Tracks SantaGoogle Santa Tracker

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:

How Google Became A Santa Tracker Tradition To Rival NORAD

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 Santa. Our story from 2012 explains more about this: Santa Tracking Explained: Why NORAD & Google Show Different Locations & Gifts Delivered.

The other reason is because Father Christmas is so fast! By the time he’s spotted in one location, he jumps to the next. That’s another reason why when bedtime approaches, don’t wait to go to sleep. Santa could appear in an instant!

Finding Santa On A Map, Via The Web

Perhaps the easiest way to spot Santa this Christmas Eve is to launch a web browser and go to either NORAD or Google. At NORAD, you’ll automatically be taken to a 3D view of where’s Santa’s currently flying:

At the bottom of that screen, you can see an estimate of number of gifts delivered, where Santa was last seen and where he’s heading to. You can also click and drag with your mouse to rotate the view, as well as use buttons in the top right corner to zoom in and out.

At Google, you’ll get a similar overview map:

Google’s map shows his current location, sometimes a box showing his next expected stop, an estimate of gifts delivered and, if you’ve allowed Google to use your computer’s location, Santa’s distance from you.

Where’s Santa Been So Far?

Both maps have ways for you to see some of the places that Santa has visited. Remember, not every place is listed. Santa goes everywhere, so that would make the maps too crowded. If you don’t see your own location, don’t panic — he’s still coming or has visited.

With NORAD, use the 2D/3D button in the top left in order to get a 2D view of the world. Camera icons show places where he’s been spotted on NORAD’s Santa Cam — click on one, and you’ll see the video. You can also click on the camera icon in the top left corner to have the map center around Santa’s current location:

Google’s map already shows places Santa’s been to by default, so all you have to do there is click on a location. Do that, and you learn more about it — plus have access to some animated videos and see occasional status updates from Santa at different times. It’s like Santa’s own Facebook News Feed — you can scroll up and down through it:

Santa Cam Video Catches Santa In Flight

My favorite thing of all the Santa trackers offer are the NORAD Santa Cam videos that spot Santa flying around different landmarks and major cities of the world. Here he is over Moscow:

Here’s one of the actual clips, this of him flying over Sydney:

To see all the clips that have been recorded up to the current time, in the NORAD map, click on the fourth icon in the top left corner to bring up a playlist:

NORAD also has a YouTube channel that hosts these videos, but as best I can tell, it hides the actual Santa Cam clips from being browsed there. That’s too bad. You can’t even search to find them — you’ll only discovered pirated ones (with ads) that way.

Google also has little video clips, but these are cute animations, not clips of Santa in flight or customized to any particular locations.

Santa Tracker Apps

Yes, there are apps for tracking Santa. NORAD offers them for Windows Phone, iOS and Android:

AndroidiPhone / iPad / iOSWindows Phone

There’s also a Windows 8 app. If it works like last year, it just loads the same thing you’d get if you went to the site in a browser. As for the phone apps, they all work and look the same regardless of platform and make getting Santa’s location a little easier. Here’s how the app appears for iOS:

Google only offers an app for Android, and I found it kind of disappointing. You have to click on the first big icon you see. That will load Santa’s position, but you might not get any description of where that is. If you don’t see this, use your finger to scroll the little cards at the bottom to until you do. Here’s how it looks:

The app does offer the ability to Chromecast Santa’s location, which is nice — more about that in a bit. The app also is supposed to mean that those with Android Wear watches can get a Santa tracker watch face. I’ve yet to figure out how to make this work. It might be that I haven’t been sent the update. It could be that it doesn’t work as promised (and Google’s posted no specific details about it).

Google also offers a Chrome browser extension that puts an icon in the top right of  your browser to reveal Santa’s location. This is very nice — here’s how it looks:

Search For Santa

A super easy way to find Santa’s location is to just search for him. Search for “Santa” on Google, and you get his location in a map box, with the ability to click on it and go to the full Google Santa Tracker:

At Bing, you have to search for “Where’s Santa,” which brings up his location and a link to NORAD, which Bing and Microsoft partner with:

Tracking Santa On TV With Chromecast

I’d mentioned that if you have the Google Santa Tracker app for Android, you could send Santa’s location to view on a Chromecast device (as well as Nexus Player). Just tap the Chromecast icon in the app. Here’s how it looks on TV:

Tracking Santa Through Social Media

NORAD gives updates on Santa’s progress through three social media accounts:

TwitterFacebookGoogle+

Here’s an example of how updates look from Twitter:

For updates on social media from Google’s tracker, you have to follow Google Maps in these places:

Google Maps on Google+Google Maps on FacebookGoogle Maps on Twitter

Note that as of when I write this, Google’s actually only been updating progress via Twitter. According to Google+ and Facebook, Santa still hasn’t taken off.

Santa’s Location By Voice Phone Call Or Email

If you’re looking for more low-tech ways to track Santa, try email. Message noradtrackssanta@outlook.com, and you should get an answer back telling you his current location.

You can also go back to the way that Santa tracking got started, by making a phone call to NORAD. The number is 1-877-HI-NORAD (which is 1-877-446-6723). If it’s busy, you might be told to call back. You might also get recorded message telling you to wait. Eventually, a real person will come on the line — usually a military volunteer giving up their Christmas Eve in the all-volunteer effort — to provide an update.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us here at Search Engine Land!

Google Now Serves Up Santa Tracker Card For "Santa" & "Santa Claus" Searches

Now that it has launched its Santa Tracker, Google is delivering a “Santa Tracker” card for “santa” and “santa claus” searches on desktop and mobile. The card includes a link to the site’s “Santa Village” and lists the number of days until Santa’s big night.

Google and NORAD both have rolled out their Santa Trackers, offering up games, a countdown to Christmas, and the chance to track Santa’s December 25 trek around the world.

Google's Santa Tracker 2014 Is Up & Counting Days Until Santa's Annual Sleigh Ride Around The Globe

Now that we have Thanksgiving out of the way, it’s time to start tracking Santa’s whereabouts.

To make it easy, Google launched its Santa Tracker today, reminding us there are less than 23 days before Santa makes his annual trip around the globe.

Santa’s dashboard – featuring the latest and greatest in Google Maps technology and sleigh engineering – will allow you to follow his progress around the world, and also learn a little about some of his stops along the way.

This year’s Google Santa Tracker website will include daily elf games, along with candy cane cartography, holiday tradition tests and JavaScript courses.

For those who want to keep constant track of what is going on at the North Pole, Google also offers a Santa Tracker Chrome extension and an updated Santa Tracker Android app, “…so that Santa’s just a tap away on phones, tablets, and TVs.”

Remember — when it’s Christmas Eve, we’ll be revisiting Google Santa Tracker and taking you through how to get the most out of it, from web to app — as well as the NORAD Tracks Santa site. Watch for our update that day on our Your Guide To Santa Trackers page.

Google Maps Pegman Is Now Santa For Christmas

If you go to Google Maps and look at the Pegman used for browsing street view images, you will see the Pegman is wearing a Santa hat.

The Santa Pegman is not new, it was shown to us when Google had a welcome back party for the Pegman in the new version of Google Maps.

Plus, Google has had the Pegman wearing a Santa hat since Christmas 2010.

Hat tip to Alex Chitu for spotting this.