Since the 1950s, Norad, the North American Aerospace Defence Command, has been giving children updates on Santa’s progress from the North Pole each Christmas Eve.Norad has teamed up with Google to track Santa’s progress online for the last five years but this year Microsoft is sponsoring the service for the first time.
A NORAD spokesman told Search Engine Land : “NTS [Norad Tracks Santa] and Google mutually agreed to go in new directions.”
NORAD has also built its own apps for Windows Phone, Android, and iOS, along with a Windows 8 app this year.
The Santa-tracking tradition began in 1955 after an advertisement misprinted a telephone number for children to call Santa. The phone number in fact put children through to the Commander-in-Chief’s operations ‘hotline’ for CONAD, the forerunner of Norad.
The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had staff check the radar for Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called the hotline were given updates on his location as he made his journey.
Geekwire commented: “This is a score for Microsoft, as nearly 25 million people are expected to follow Santa this year. Last Christmas, the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations centre in Colorado Springs received more than 102,000 calls, 7,721 e-mails and reached nearly 20 million people in more than 220 countries around the world.”