Saturday, 9 December 2017

Santa’s Village is Back in Business

Santa’s Village

Santa-Tracker: Google's Interactive Advent Calendar is Back

Google has built the Santa's Village and now The Santa Tracker is back: As every year, Google has again gathered a series of entertaining games in Santa's Village an interactive Advent calendar. This time kids can even program visually.

Santa-Tracker: From a misprint in 1955 into the Internet age

This Santa's Village has a long tradition at Google. Already in 2004, the search engine showed for the first time children on Google Maps the supposed course of Santa's journey from Santa's Village on Christmas Eve. The tradition is actually much older and was long before Google or the Internet. In fact, the Santa Tracker was created by a misprint in 1955.

At that time, the US mail order company Sears printed an advertisement that asked children to call Santa Claus from Santa's Village. However, instead of connecting to Sears, the number led to the North American Air and Space Defense Command (NORAD). In order not to disappoint the calling children, the local soldiers were ordered to give them the alleged position of Santa Claus. This is how a tradition emerged that, in cooperation with Google, spilled over into the Internet from 2004 onwards and it created Santa's Village.

In 2012, however, NORAD decided to monitor Santa Claus no longer with Google but with Microsoft's help. Obviously, after eight years, the search giant did not want to break with tradition anymore, so there are now two Santa trackers: Santa from Santa's Village created by Google and the original NORAD.
Google's Santa Tracker 2017: This year too with Coding Games
Google's Santa from Santa's Village has long been more than a preparation for Santa's fictive itinerary. It's now an interactive Advent calendar, featuring a range of Christmas games and informational materials. Kids learn, for example, how the Christmas traditions in different countries of the world look like.

In this beautiful Santa's Village, we particularly like the Coding game available since December 2nd. Here children have to program a virtual plotter so that a snowflake comes out of it. This is done using a visual programming language modeled on Scratch. This Santa's Village from Google is available as in previous years as a website and Android app.
The original: Santa Tracker by NORAD supports Alexa and Cortana
NORAD's original Santa tracker will also be available again in 2017. Here, too, children can learn about Christmas celebrations from all over the world. There are also different games. Unlike Google, however, the NORAD site makes no effort to deduce the desired language from your source. Children therefore have to manually switch to the various languages via a drop-down menu.

Interestingly, the Santa Tracker makers have not overslept the current hype about voice-controlled assistance systems. On Dec. 24th, according to the creators, you can ask Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana where Santa is currently in, and then get an answer from Santa's tracker.

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