Microsoft-NORAD and Google didn't agree where Santa was going

We have already reported that Microsoft has taken over the back end of tracking Santa Claus' trip around the world for NORAD, while Google has decided to launch its own Santa tracker. Now that St. Nick is actually on his way, the two services are offering very different views of where Santa is going.

The NORAD Santa Tracker, which has map support from Microsoft's Bing Maps, showed Santa and his sleigh over Athens, Greece around 3:40 pm Eastern time, It also showed that Santa had delivered over 2.8 billion presents at that time.

By contrast, at around the same time, Google's Santa Tracker showed that he was making his way to the Middle East, specifically Saudi Arabia, after leaving Africa. Furthermore, the number of presents Santa had delivered at that time was much lower that Microsoft-NORAD. Only 777 million presents had been given out, according to Google's estimate.

So why the differences in positions and presents? The Washington Post speculates that Google gets its information from Santa's onboard WiFi antenna and that the information from that source is lagging behind Microsoft and NORAD. Also, Microsoft might have a better way to track the individual presents that Santa is giving out, including stocking stuffers.

In any case, Santa is now getting closer to Europe and later tonight he will reach the US. While it's unlikely this will happen, there's an outside chance someone will actually see Santa tonight and confirm which solution, Microsoft-NORAD and Google, is tracking him more accurately.

Source: The Washington Post | Images via Microsoft-NORAD and Google

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It kind of ignores the fact that many European countries do the presents on the 24th, not on the first day of Xmas.

The fact that Google's tracker has Santa completely missing Houston, TX (America's 4th largest city) on the way from San Antonio to New Orleans has me pretty miffed.

As if Santa would only stop in one Texas city, let alone it being San Antonio. Guess Santa was too cool for Houston, Dallas and Austin? Notice that he makes several stops in California, hits the the other top 3 largest U.S. cities among other smaller cities too. I guess Google doesn't like Texans.

I will admit their tracker design looks much neater, but missing some of America's largest cities is enough to call their tracker tech stupid. What matters most is the accuracy.

I much prefer Google's take on this - Microsoft's tracker design looks outdated, and is pretty plain.

Google's tracker = a work of art; it's not just "a website" like Microsoft's.

Doesn't everyone know exactly how "HE" does it..... It is really not a He but a they...

You know Santa Claus and Old St Nick (Nicolas) they tag team.

redvamp128 said,
Doesn't everyone know exactly how "HE" does it..... It is really not a He but a they...

You know Santa Claus and Old St Nick (Nicolas) they tag team.


Nope, Santa Claus is based on Saint Nicolas Its one of the same person. One story, the American one of Christmas. And one, the north-west European one of Saint Nicolas (December 5th).
However Saint Nicolas has tons of slaves and Santa Claus has his elves (which however don't travel with him in the stories)

Gawd, I knew I saw a Google sponsored Sleigh go past easier with "Google Street View" written on the side of it and camears on a mast above it mapping the worlds air space...

nohone said,
So Google hacked Santa's WiFi router, also?

No. They just pickup his own personal WiFi hotspot signal when he arrives in the vicinity with their omnipresent street-view cars! XD

Santa officially only supports Norad tracking, as is Norad that supplies the support aircraft while in north American airspace tonight to guide him safely over us tonight, all others are pirating the signal.

korupt_one said,
Santa officially only supports Norad tracking, as is Norad that supplies the support aircraft while in north American airspace tonight to guide him safely over us tonight, all others are pirating the signal.
To guide him or to provide ECM/IFF escort so he don't get shot down by some random autonomous SAM sites? ;-)

Tikimotel said,
Coca-cola(tm)(c)-man (a.k.a Santa) has a stealth device to avoid radar detection...
He wouldn't need that device in the first place.
He's sledge is made of wood which doesn't reflect radar waves at all. So if you count out his payloads, then Mr. Santa should have a RCS of almost zero! ;-)

Google tracked Santa with spyware in its Chrome browser that got installed when he downloaded Acrobat Reader to read some children's wish lists. Microsoft just went through the official channels with NORAD to track him.

Google is now also claiming Santa is an active user of Google+

Google gets its information from Santa's onboard WiFi antenna and that the information from that source is lagging behind Microsoft and NORAD.


On a more serious note they are both wrong. Santa decided to use iOS maps and he is now at the bottom of the atlantic ocean. R.I.P Santa

not for kids. If anything its good for kids to learn about geography. I was letting my nieces track Santa with my phone today. He was over Africa and it showed the different stops, places like Zanzibar, Madagascar, ect... It showed a bunch of more exotic cites and countries that kids wont normally learn about at that age, and now they know all these different places in different countries. For example, it makes it easier for them to understand that Africa isn't just one country, which is pretty common mistake for kids(and even some adults).

This isn't meant to be serious, its a 1 day thing every year for kids.

I agree. For one time a year can people have a bit of fun? You don't want it, you don't need to use it. It'll be gone by the morning anyway.

And I hadn't thought about the educational value for children like I am Reid pointed out. An excellent reason for this to be done, in my opinion.

It just doesn't strike me as appropriate to be talking about the educational value of tracking Santa Claus. Small children certainly wouldn't understand the size of those places when they're trying to picture one man delivering presents to everyone there.

I guess it will eventually teach them that not all of the information they are told is true, and that is a good lesson to learn. The intentional lying bit still bothers me though.

Edited by Chugworth, Dec 24 2012, 10:32pm :

Do you have Asperger's or something? This isn't meant to be calculus for six year olds. It's something fun to add to the imaginary tale of Santa Claus. It also helps children identify parts of the world on a map that they possibly didn't know existed.

Davo said,
Do you have Asperger's or something? This isn't meant to be calculus for six year olds. It's something fun to add to the imaginary tale of Santa Claus. It also helps children identify parts of the world on a map that they possibly didn't know existed.

I wonder though, of the children these days, what percentage get the Santa Claus stories presented to them as imaginary tales, and what percentage get the stories presented to them as truth.

Chugworth said,
It just doesn't strike me as appropriate to be talking about the educational value of tracking Santa Claus. Small children certainly wouldn't understand the size of those places when they're trying to picture one man delivering presents to everyone there.

I guess it will eventually teach them that not all of the information they are told is true, and that is a good lesson to learn. The intentional lying bit still bothers me though.


Bah humbug?
Yikes, where did everyone's sense of fun disappear to? And as Davo said, the education isn't anything to do with ratios (one man compared to a country), and it isn't to do with maths (now timmy, if santa has to visit 2 billion children in the space of 3 hours, how many presents is that per hour?). It's just nice, simple geography (oh look, so that's where China is!).

As for the lying...we're told lies from the start of our lives until the end of them. At least this story is a white lie, and if you're using it correctly with your children then it's designed to have them behave...well, in theory.

"Daddy, where is Santa now?"
"That depends on if you prefer Google or Bing, son."

The war starts for another generation...