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Santa and NORAD: Microsoft nicer than Google this year

Google apparently hasn't been naughty in Santa's eyes, but Microsoft must have been pretty nice. NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, will switch from using Google Maps to Bing Maps to track Santa Claus on his Christmas Eve trip around the world.

This year's NORAD team includes many members, from Verizon to Avaya Government Solutions, but Microsoft appears to be the lead sponsor, getting high play for products and services ranging from Bing to Windows Azure cloud services to Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

GIFT GUIDE: Be a hero for the holidays

We say that Google must not have been naughty in that NORAD is still pushing its YouTube channel, and YouTube of course is a Google property. NORAD is also offering Android and iOS apps in addition to Windows Phone and Windows 8 ones.

Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land writes that Google Maps have been used over the past five years by NORAD for Santa tracking.

The good news for good little children around the world is that NORAD apparently is not relying on Apple Maps for Santa tracking. Apple Maps have proven to be a big problem for Apple this year, even confusing the Dark Knight and being called a life-threatening issue in Australia. 

Last year NORAD introduced mobile apps and games (including elf tossing) to its repertoire.

NORAD's tradition of tracking Santa started in 1955, with kids of all ages able to call NORAD to check on the jolly old elf's progress (and you can still do this in 2011 on Christmas Eve by calling 1-877-Hi-NORAD). Naturally, the tracking and communications processes have become more sophisticated over the years, with the rise of the Internet.

Bob Brown tracks network research in his Alpha Doggs blog and Facebook page, as well on Twitter and Google +. 

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.


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