Microsoft, Google going head-to-head in battle to track Santa across globe on X-mas
London: Two competing Santa tracking devices are racing to track the Christmas gift-giver as he will be travelling the globe on Christmas Eve.
Volunteers have been watching Father Christmas’ progress from 5 am EST, as part of the annual NORAD Tracks Santa Programme.
The Microsoft-sponsored system, run by the North American Aerospace Defense Command located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is in its 57th year and allows children to follow the sledge online, the Daily Mail reports.
But this year it has a competitor, using its Google Earth and Google Maps products, the Internet search giant is tracking Santa on its own this year with a new algorithm.
According to the report, the vice-president of Google Maps and Google Earth, Brian McClendon, wrote on the Official Google blog that while they have been tracking Santa since 2004 with Google Earth, this year a team of dedicated Google Maps engineers built a new route algorithm to chart Santa’s journey around the world on Christmas.
Meanwhile, NORAD revealed it takes hundreds of calls from those eager to know Saint Nick''s precise location and uses radar and satellite and even fighter jets to keep a track of his route, the report said.
For the past two years even US First Lady Michelle Obama has lent a hand answering calls from concerned children keen to keep tabs on Santa and his nine reindeer.
The third tracking system is the Santa Cam network...Santa Cams are ultra-cool, high-tech, high-speed digital cameras that are pre-positioned at many locations around the world.
According to the report, the cameras capture images and videos of Santa and his reindeer as they make their journey around the world.
By 1pm EST the tracking site had followed Santa across Australia and Asia.
He was spotted passing landmarks such as the Great Wall of China and the Sydney Opera House.
He was most recently seen above the skies of Afghanistan.
Google's new Santa Tracker is live on the web at http://www.google.com/santatracker.
Santa can also be tracked online using NORAD at www.noradsanta.org, www.facebook.com/noradsanta and https://twitter.com/NoradSanta.
An app can also be downloaded to Apple, Google Android and Microsoft phones as well as Windows PCs, the report added.