Tags: santa | tracker | bing | google | maps

Google Maps Gets Lump of Coal, Bing Gets NORAD’s Santa Tracker

By Megan Anderle   |   Tuesday, 18 Dec 2012 12:10 PM

Although more than 10 million iPhone users downloaded the Google Maps application in just 48 hours after it became available last week, Santa apparently wasn't impressed. So, if you're going to track his Christmas Eve movements this year you're going to need Bing.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command has decided to switch from Google Maps, which it used since 2007, to Microsoft’s Bing maps for its annual "NORAD Tracks Santa" project.

People anxiously awaiting Santa can track him through Bing maps available on the iPhone, and Android and Windows Phone 8 smartphones.

Since Dec. 12, NORAD’s Santa tracking app has been downloaded nearly 922,000 times through Apple’s iTunes, plus 558,000 times for Android users and 2,500 for Windows Phone 8 users, according to ABC News.

Michael Kucharek, a spokesman for the project, said NORAD is constantly evolving to stay current with the most popular technology. He added that 29 percent of the site’s visitors are from the UK, 7 percent from Canada and 5 percent from Japan.

NORAD has a 95,000-plus Twitter following, a Facebook page with more than a million "Likes," and more than 4,000 Google+ subscribers.

NORAD began its tracking project in 1955 after a child called the base hoping to speak with Santa Claus.

Apparently, the base phone number was misprinted in a Sears newspaper ad and children placing calls to Santa were actually connected to Peterson Air Force Base.

“The number went straight to Col. Harry Shoup and he just played along,” Kurcharek told ABC.

The project has grown substantially, with more than 50 partners. As Santa believers become more and more tech-savvy, the organization has to meet them on the networks they’re populating, like Facebook, Twitter, and on smartphone apps.

“We’re sort of moving with the times and the technology and expanding the program,” Kurcharek said.

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