To keep down the sheer panic of witnessing an unidentified flying sleigh-like object on Christmas Eve, Google and the North American Aerospace Defense Command have launched trackers to keep tabs on Jolly Old Saint Nicholas as he prepares to shuttle gifts across air spaces all over the globe.
After decades of manufacturing and stockpiling gifts at an undisclosed location in the North Pole, Santa's base of operations was plotted. Now tech firms and military organization keep track of the sovereign gift-giver each December.
To complement its Santa Tracker, Google is releasing a series of games and interactive projects until the day when all eyes gaze skyward for a glimpse at Rudolph's tell-tell nose and Santa's ridiculously packed sleigh.
"Throughout the holiday celebration, our own developer elves here at Google have also been hard at work getting the sleigh tracking algorithm ready for prime time," states Sandy Russell, Santa launch strategist, in a blog post. "They've been adding finishing touches to the Santa Tracker App for Android so Santa's just a tap away on phones, tablets, and TVs."
Google will deploy a "present parachute" onto its Santa Tracker each day until Christmas. While the Santa Tracker prepares to launch in full, visitors can guide Santa through a course in a game of Reindeer Race.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will continue its decades-old tradition of hosting a Santa Tracker. The air-defense organization first started keeping tabs on the roguish gift giver in 1955, when an advertisement erroneously directed children to NORAD's phone number.
"Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the Crew Commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center," states NORAD in a press release. "Thus began the tradition, which NORAD carried on since it was created in 1958."
NORAD's Santa Tracker will also feature daily games and activities to accompany its countdown clock. The tracker is available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese.
To track Santa, NORAD uses its 47-facility strong North Warning System to check for anomalies originating from the North Pole.
"NORAD makes a point of checking the radar closely for indications of Santa Claus leaving the North Pole every holiday season," states NORAD. "The moment our radar tells us that Santa has lifted off, we begin to use the same satellites that we use in providing air warning of possible missile launches aimed at North America."
On Dec. 24, NORAD will fire up its high-speed SantaCams. Since 1998, the groups of cameras have been turned on each time Santa enters a new country.