Google & NORAD Track Santa; Bing Unveils ‘Magical’ Holiday Calendar

Search engines are participating in holiday-oriented activities this year: Google is helping to track Santa yet again with the help of NORAD, while Bing has launched a “Magical Holiday Calendar” featuring deals and prizes.

Google and NORAD Tail Santa

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has been tracking Santa’s position since 1955, when a misprinted ad led to children calling the airspace defense director of operations when they’d meant to call Old Saint Nick. That director of operations, Colonel Harry Shoup, decided to play along – and the organization has played along ever since.

Google has been helping NORAD’s efforts for several years now, and 2011 is certainly no exception. Santa enthusiasts can use Google Maps, Google Earth, and even Google Maps for mobile to keep on top of Santa’s locale. This year sees the addition of NORAD Tracks Santa on Google+.

In conjunction with the standard tracking efforts, Google contributes to the NORAD site and its Countdown Village, which features activities for children. New activities are launched every day of December prior to the 25th.

Bing’s Magical Holiday Calendar


Bing has announced a countdown of its own: a Bing calendar that opens up a new holiday icon each day in December. Those icons take users to downloadable goodies, holiday-oriented sites, special deals, and even contests and giveaways. Giveaways include “a chance to win a trip around the world, free concerts for a year, new cars or the ultimate fashion experience.”

To commemorate the launch of the new site, the Bing blog invited Kelly Osbourne to share her holiday memories and ideas. She recounted memories of how Ozzy used to dress up as Santa, told how the Osbournes used greeting cards as holiday decor, and says that this year she is making her Christmas tree out of recyclable materials.

Holiday traditions are certainly important. What traditions do you have with search this time of the year? How about for SEO? What about other, random traditions for the holiday season? Let us know in the comments.

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