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Google, Microsoft offer different methods for tracking Santa

Instead of tracking Santa just one day this month, Google wants to help you watch his team prep for December 25. And Microsoft wants you to track St. Nick with IE11.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

It's that time of year, when Google helps little ones around the world track Santa. This year, instead of only tracking Kris Kringle on Christmas Eve, Google is giving you a different glimpse into what's occurring at the North Pole every day leading up to Christmas.

The announcement from Google came courtesy of a post on its Google Maps blog early Wednesday. With a countdown timer at the top of the page, you're able to view familiar Google Maps pins for each day leading up to Santa's busiest day of the year, and see prep work being done by his elves and reindeer.

Later in the month (mid-December according to the post), Google plans on releasing an Android app to help you keep tabs on preparations and track St. Nick on Christmas Eve. Also included in the app will be a couple of games and the ability to explore the North Pole and watch Santa's progress on your TV using Chromecast. There's also a Santa Tracker Chrome extension available.

In addition, Microsoft has teamed up with NORAD this year, aiming to highlight Internet Explorer 11 while also helping you track Santa. Starting on Christmas Eve, as NORAD begins tracking Santa, those using IE11 on a touch device will be able to view his progress across the world in a 3D globe.

NORAD is the expert when it comes to tracking Santa, having previously partnered with Google to incorporate the data of where Santa into Google Maps. We had the privilege of going behind the scenes a few years back to see how the team inside the mountain tracks Santa. You can read about it here.