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December 20, 2012

Microsoft Bing grabs NORAD Santa tracking deal for Christmas

Track Santa across the globe this Christmas Eve

By CBR Staff Writer

Microsoft has collaborated with North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) to help power the annual Santa Tracker.

Microsoft said its technology including Bing Maps, Windows Azure, and applications for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 will work alongside NORAD’s global radars to track Santa as he races across the globe. The companies said parents can use a mobile app, a website or make a call to NORAD to help their children track down Santa’s location on Christmas night.

NORAD Tracks Santa project manager Marisa Novobilski said: "Since we’re watching the skies anyway, it only makes sense to watch for Rudolph as well. Last year we had 18.9 million visitors through month of December, and upwards of 1 million inquiries per second on December 24."

Microsoft’s Joint Defense Agencies account team unit manager Dana Barnes said: "The Bing Maps component of tracking Santa will show kids where Santa is, let them place icons on the map, and focus in on his trip past the world’s major cities."

NORAD’s tracking feature includes information regarding the elevation and direction of Santa’s journey and photos, weather and information from Wikipedia on the destinations.

According to Microsoft, the Windows Azure’s consumption-based model allows NORAD Santa Tracker site to handle heavy traffic on Christmas Eve.

The agency, which has been has tracking the worldwide progress of Santa’s gift-giving journeys at Christmas since 1955, has been using Google Maps to display its information for the last five years. However Google recently set up its own version, called Santa Search.

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