Santa Tracker 2013 is here, and Google is giving kids everywhere the chance to follow St. Nicholas on his annual gift-giving trek around the world.
The technology giant this year is offering a dashboard where people can check out where Santa Claus is on the map, where he’s already been, and exactly how many presents he’s dropped already.
Google introduced the Santa Tracker 2013 as a bit of competition to NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which for years has kept tabs on Santa as he travels around the world. The NORAD Santa Tracker is chock full of its own features, like 3D functions that let users watch Santa and his reindeer as well as tabs on many of the places on the globe he’s visited that link to Wikipedia entries for the cities.
The official NORAD Santa Tracker 2013 is connected through Microsoft Bing, leaving Google free to come up with its own.
The tech blog Slash Gear notes some of cool functions Google is offering:
“The Google tracker works with a much more aesthetically pleasing vision of the whole situation, with bright colors and a singular aesthetic. Here you’re able to watch Santa from above, but not in 3D. Google’s tracker does win some heavy points for delivering a collection of games to play while users wait for Santa to arrive in their area.
“Google’s mapping service works with Google Maps data, of course, and connects with The Weather Channel for weather information for each individual location.”
The Santa Tracker 2013 from Google also has some fun games and activities in Santa’s village, as well as facts about how Christmas is celebrated around the globe. It tells that in New Zealand, families gather around a barbecue and a typical Christmas meal is a roast lamb cooked in an underground pit or earthen oven.