Santa must be real, he's on Google Earth

Anxious Christmas revelers can track Santa's journey this year via Google Maps, iGoogle, "Santa Cam," mobile phones, and Twitter.

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills

Track Santa Claus' Christmas Eve sleigh via Google Earth. Google

As it has for the past four years, Google will be mapping Santa Claus' trek from the icy North Pole to rooftops around the globe on Christmas Eve. But this year, good girls and boys can track their gifts via mobile phones and Twitter, too.

Starting at 3 a.m. PST on Wednesday, a Google Map with Santa's current location will be displayed on the NORAD Santa Web site, operated by Google and the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Santa fans can also track his movements in 3D in Google Earth (download) by downloading a special NORAD Tracks Santa KML. iGoogle users can add a NORAD Tracks Santa gadget to their iGoogle page.

Google will be displaying high-resolution "Santa Cam" video of the gift-laden airborne sleigh. For locations without video, photos from Panoramio will be displayed in Google Maps.

And for the first time, people can track Santa's journey on mobile phones with Google Maps for Mobile and follow him on Twitter by adding "@noradsanta."

You can read the history of Google's Santa tracking efforts on the Official Google Blog.

Google became NORAD's official Santa Tracking technology partner last year. NORAD has been tracking Santa for about 50 years.