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Santa’s already on his way, and two online trackers are following his every move

Santa’s already on the road, or should we say, “in the sky”, making his way from home to home, delivering gifts as he goes.

Beginning his mammoth annual journey in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific, the big guy in the red suit is certain to be exhausted by the time he reaches the US, so be sure to leave out a few more mince pies than usual for him, and, while you’re at it, an extra glass of sherry.

Thanks to websites from the North American Aerospace Defense Command – better known as NORAD – and Google, kids keen to follow Santa’s progress can check in right now to see how he’s doing with all those gifts.

Both sites have been revamped for 2013, with NORAD’s Microsoft-sponsored offering coming with a new 3D globe and advent-calendar arcade which each day throughout December has been rolling out a new online game for visitors. Seasonal music and short Santa-centered movies are also part of the set-up.

Google’s site, too, has plenty of extras to keep the kids, and possibly quite a few adults, entertained, with the Mountain View company’s service not surprisingly making full use of its comprehensive Maps tool to bring you up-to-the-minute information on Santa’s whereabouts.

Both NORAD and Google have launched accompanying mobile apps for the their respective tracking services, while Google is also offering Chromecast owners the chance to beam the whole experience to their TV set.

NORAD’s been in the Santa-tracking game for far longer than Google, starting out one Christmas Eve almost 60 years ago. Amusingly, the whole shebang is actually the result of an error made by a Colorado Springs newspaper in 1955.

A ‘hotline’ number offering kids the chance to call Santa was misprinted by the paper – the number instead belonged to NORAD’s predecessor, the Continental Aerospace Defense Command. The operators were, of course, flooded with calls that night, but luckily for the kids, they played along and gave out updates on Santa’s location. Born from a printing error, the evening has since become a tradition, with the Internet opening up lots of new possibilities for the service.

NORAD tracker / Google tracker

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