This Christmas, know what Mr Claus is up to with Google's Santa Tracker
Launched in 2004, the tracker and Santa's Village have been updated almost every year.
A simple search on Google with 'Where is Santa?' would show you a little interactive of Santa's Village.
The interactive is not just fun, but also a productive experiment for Google's team.
As we eagerly wait for Christmas and the ensuing holiday season, our beloved Santa is working his way across town. With Google's Santa Tracker, we can know just where he is and what he's up to!
Launched in 2004, the tracker and Santa's Village have been updated almost every year with new and improved features including games, interactives, fun videos, voice assistant interaction, and even some pandemic-relevant updates such as a face mask for Santa since last year.
According to the team behind it, the interactive is not just fun, but also a productive experiment that has helped them with new features and developments. Dave Holmes from the team shared in the official Google blog, “We figured out how to do so many different things because of Santa Tracker — how to build things, how to launch things, how to make things accessible, how to improve web design, how to optimize tools. I like to say that everything I’ve learned at Google, I learned from Santa.”
A simple search on Google with 'Where is Santa?' would show you a little interactive of Santa's Village, which runs all through December with multiple games and fun videos. A day before Christmas, on December 24, you can actually track Santa and see where he's off to with his presents!
Sam Thorogood, who’s the project lead for the last seven seasons, shared some of his favourite features from the interactive, including adding Google Maps Local Guides’ photos to Santa’s route, a coding game where you can teach elves to dance (called Code Boogie), the Elf Maker, and the Snowball Storm.
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There were also certain things that didn't work. Dave elaborated, “One engineer who focused on AI and human movement came up with this idea for a game where you could enable tracking on your computer and teach the elves to dance, and they would mimic your movement.” However, they soon found a glitch and the game could not be launched. It has been sent to Elf engineering for the fixes and improvements.