Microsoft today announced that it has once again partnered with North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to track Santa this Christmas. This means that Google is once again on its own. The two dueling services can be found here: NORAD Tracks Santa and Google Maps Santa Tracker.
At the time of writing, both sites are still counting down till Santa departs. The screenshots below were both taken in the same minute, and as you can see, Microsoft will start tracking (and likely stop tracking) Santa first.
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Here is Microsoft’s version:
Here is Google’s:
Google previously had a partnership with NORAD but last year, Microsoft stole that deal away and the company was left to launch its own service. Now it’s happening again, though both offerings are quite similar.
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer team this year redesigned the NORAD tracking site, “adding in Web standards and optimizing it for touch.” Bing powers the map, Skype lets families use click-to-call for live updates on Santa’s location, and the whole experience is powered by Azure servers.
Google meanwhile is readying Santa’s dashboard, which it says “powers his sleigh during his around-the-world journey” and features Google Maps technology as well as “sleigh engineering.” Google says it will launch its Santa Tracker app for Android in mid-December, including support for the Chromecast, and offer the usual Chrome extension to count down to Santa’s takeoff.
Yet the two services really are quite similar. Both offer apps for their respective platforms (Windows and Windows Phone as well as Chrome and Android), both let you explore Santa’s village while the father of Christmas gets ready for his journey, and both offer games and interactive activities to keep the kids entertained.
Microsoft and Google’s rivalry extends even into the holidays. Thankfully the two behave at this time of the year – after all, Santa knows they’ve been naughty during the other 11 months.
Top Image Credit: Marcelo Graciano