Google Vs. Bing: Santa Tracker Showdown As NORAD Switches To Microsoft's Maps Service

Maybe when Google sits on Santa's knee in 2013 it can ask for its job back.

Here's a Christmas story for you all: once upon a time there was a defense organization called the North American Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD for short. When, due to a misprint, its phone number ended up featuring in a Colorado department store's Christmas ad, the NORAD Santa Tracker was born. Most of you probably know the rest of the story. But here's the innovation bit to it.

For the past decade or so, NORAD has used Google Maps as the brains behind its Santa Tracker. But this year, Google has been replaced by Bing—in some ways an inexplicable decision, given that, in the U.K., for example, Bing's market share is 4%, compared to Google's 89%.

No matter, says Google. The search giant has set up its own Santa Tracker, complete with a Google+Santa Hotline. So, Santa fans, which tracker will you be using over Christmas: the original NORAD version, with the Bing software, or Google's version? (Or are you so cynical that you're just going to keep an eye on your Amazon status updates?)

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  • Flexdmc

    NORAD is genius! Use BING so no one will hit their servers and use Google web servers instead...

  • Belstone

    Through sentiment, I'd tend to want to follow the NORAD version wherever it's found, because of the story behind its origins.  But I have to say that earlier versions of their Santa Tracker looked much more realistic (i.e. a child wouldn't immediately say--that's just a cartoon) than it has recently.   If I were viewing this with a child, I'd probably choose whichever one looked the most like it was tracking an actual flying object (even if it is an object pulled by eight reindeer)...