That hasn't stopped Google from continuing to monitor Santa on its own.
NORAD, or the North American Aerospace Defense Command, thinks it has the most sophisticated system for watching the Big Guy. It uses "four high-tech systems to track Santa—radar, satellites, Santa Cams and fighter jets."
NORAD has been tracking Santa for 62 years, long before the introduction of Google Maps, Bing Maps, or the Internet, for that matter.
It's a pretty serious endeavor, too. 25 million people will use NORAD's Santa-tracking site this year, which will run on Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud-computing platform and Bing Maps, reports Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.
NORAD is also offering Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Android Santa-tracking apps.
NORAD's Lt. Cmdr. Bill Lewis says it isn't leaving Google because of any problems.
"It was a mutually agreed-upon split," Gaudin reports.
"While we’ve been tracking Santa since 2004 with Google Earth, this year a team of dedicated Google Maps engineers built a new route algorithm to chart Santa’s journey around the world on Christmas Eve. On his sleigh, arguably the fastest airborne vehicle in the world, Santa whips from city to city delivering presents to millions of homes."
NORAD will begin tracking Santa at 2 a.m. Eastern Time on Dec. 24, via the new apps, its website, or email sent to email@example.com. (Outlook.com is another Microsoft product.) People can also call the official Santa tracking phone number, 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) for live updates.
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