Google Santa Tracker: Where is the Santa now, How to follow Santa's arrival?
Photo: Android Authority

Introduced back in 2004, Google’s Santa Tracker has become increasingly elaborate in recent times, telling you how far he is from your location, the number of presents he has delivered thus far and even the weather conditions at his current location – you can find it here.

What is Google's Santa Tracker?

Google Santa Tracker is a Christmas-themed entertainment site which allows user to track Santa Claus. The tracker is unlocked on Christmas eve when he actually begins his journey to deliver presents to the good children around the world.

The Santa Tracker site not just allows you to track Santa Claus but one can also spend time playing a host full of games, puzzles like finding a Santa in his village and many other things. Apart from the tracker, other things on the Santa Tracker site go live at the start of the month of December.

Through the Santa Tracker map, one can see the live status of Santa Claus, how many kilometers he has traveled, how many gifts has he delivered, what will be his next stop, and at what places he has already delivered the gifts.

The making of Google's Santa Tracker

In a series of tweets, Haraldur Thorleifsson, CEO and founder of design company Ueno, who created Google's first Santa tracker narrated how he landed upon working on a project to create Google's Santa tracker. Here's his story:

"Seven years ago I led a team to create the first Google Santa Tracker. I was not supposed to be in that role. But it changed my life. It started as a pretty standard call.

I had been working with Upperquad and their founder, my friend Phil, on a number of projects, many of them for Google. This time around, the Google Maps team wanted a way for kids to follow Santa on Christmas Eve.

I was one of a number of designers on the call. We all got the same brief. It was a Thursday and we were going to meet again on the following Monday to share some ideas.

I remember thinking that this was a special chance. I decided I had to take it. The Santa on a map thing was cool but I didn't think it was enough.

I wanted to build excitement with kids leading up to the 24th. I wanted it to be a unique experience. I wanted to create a world. And I only had a few days to prove I should be the person to do it.

I had an idea but I needed some help. So I reached out to an illustrator I found on Dribbble. I asked him if he could work with me to create Santa's Village.

Since I didn't have a budget I offered him $1000 of my own money. It was all the money I had at the time. We worked non-stop over the weekend.

On Monday morning I presented a protype I had built in Flash. It had all the bells and whistles, literally (we had sound effects). The other designers had rough sketches. We had leapfrogged everyone else. Our idea was picked.

Next up was a review with some of the Google development team. We showed them the idea. They said they would need 6-9 months to build it. It was late September. Christmas was 3 months away. We were told it couldn't happen.

It was a Thursday. Again. I called around and found a developer. I offered him another $1000. Money I didn't have. Over 3 days we built a proof of concept. A fully functional prototype.

On Monday we shaped it with Google and I said, this can be done. Their devs (developers) were not happy but I didn't care. All my life people had told me I couldn't do something and I was finally getting the confidence to tell them yes I could.

I told them I could get this done. I didn't tell them I had no idea how and that I was scared shitless. To my surprise they said ok and handed me control over the project.

Over the next 2,5 months I worked harder than I had ever worked. I played multiple roles. I cut assets, I created budgets, I wrote scripts, created video games. I honestly went a little crazy.

On top of all of this I was handling constant feedback from the client. After a while I realized that the timeline was my biggest asset. If I waited to show what we were working on it would be too late to change anything. Approval was the only option.

As December came we started to launch. Luckily we had a staggered launch, one experience a day. We would launch one thing at midnight and move on to the next day's delivery. I don't remember sleeping that month. I knew the work was good but the reception blew me away.

Kids all over the world lived it. We had millions and millions of visitors every day. It was magical.

Looking back, that experience gave me the confidence to start my own agency. One year later Ueno was created.

Santa Tracker is still a thing. Every Christmas it goes back online with new additions and every year I'm excited to see it.

For me it was a once in lifetime opportunity and it changed my life. Anyway, Feliz Navidad from lovely Mexico City!"

Narrating his work experience and about an opportunity that changed his life, the designer also mentioned, "And remember, you only get a few breaks in life, when you see them, grab on and don't let go no matter what happens."

At his own website, Haraldur Thorleifsson while speaking about his Santa Tracker site said, "From the moment it launched the site was widely shared throughout the internets. People flooded their Google+, Facebook and Twitter feeds with positive reviews, links to the Santa Tracker site and overall holiday cheer."

How to use the Google Santa Tracker to follow Father Christmas?

Modern technology means it’s easier than ever to keep track of Santa Claus as he flies from country to country, ferried by his trusty herd of reindeer – Google Santa Tracker is one of the best.

The Santa Tracker from Google is back up and running, and we're hard at work tracking where he is around the globe - but we can confirm that he's now managed to throw 247 million presents from his sleigh after he started in Russia at 10 AM GMT / 5 AM ET / 2 AM PT.

If ever there was a year where we needed to have some festive cheer, it's right now - and it turns out that the Santa Tracker is possible because Father Christmas has actually had the vaccine already, according to Dr Fauci in the US, as cited by TechRadar.

Santa's village is also now open for business, with a whole host of mini-games, videos and activities to play - bookmark this page as we'll be running through the key ones for you to get involved with, whether you're entertaining little ones or not.

The key thing to do - as he's on the way, flicking around the Pacific Islands right now - is to jump to to see where he's at (currently, the sleigh is being prepared for final checks with all those presents).

It works on both desktop and mobile pretty well, and a tap of the menu in the top left-hand corner will give you access to all the lovely things you can do this year... just don't have your sound up too loud as it rather blares out of the Santa Tracker.

Another convenient way to track Santa Claus's destination by watching live here.

Google Santa Tracker: Where is the Santa now, How to follow Santa's arrival?
Photo: Youtube

Our top Santa Tracker games

You can visit it here to get all of the latest updates on Christmas Eve (there’s an app on Google Play, too) and it boasts a dizzying array of features and interactive games to get you into the Christmas spirit. These include:

#A sprawling cartoon featuring a sleeping Santa Claus whose hat is powered off his head by his snores and lands on his alarm clock – his ensuing inability to rouse himself throws the Christmas preparations into jeopardy

#An ingenious puzzle game based on manoeuvring presents into a pot in Santa’s toy factory

#The opportunity to assemble a festive musical supergroup from Santa’s elves

#A code-based elf dance-off game, which calls upon you to memorise and replicate routines

#The chance to jazz up Father Christmas to take the perfect selfie

#Ollie Under The Sea, an animated storybook based the eponymous lonely narwhal who laments being left out of the Christmas celebrations

#A Where’s Wally-esque quest to find Santa in a variety of unlikely locations

According to INews, there are many more options at your disposal – simply press the “play” button on the animated home screen and it will take you to a random option – you can press home and then try another one if it’s not to your liking.

What route does Santa take?

Traditionally, Santa begins his journey out in the Pacific Ocean and travels west. Santa will visit the South Pacific, then New Zealand and Australia. After that, he will pop up to Asia, via Japan, then make his way around the giant continent of Africa. Eventually, he moves on to Europe, Canada, the United States and South America.

Santa travels an estimated 510 million kilometres on Christmas Eve, moving at approximately 1,800 miles per second.

For the newest updated destination of Santa Claus, check out KnowInsider website.

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