Microsoft or Google? It’s a question that the North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD, asked itself in 2012. The organization had utilized the Mountain View-based search giant in previous years, but elected to make a switch to Microsoft. It’s a decision it sticks with this year.
But the jilted lover didn’t take heartbreak lying down. Instead, Google created its own tracking site, featuring eerily similar functionality. For most of us, none of this matters. For our children it is completely meaningless. Kids don’t care about the technology behind it -- they want games to play, videos to watch and, most importantly, to know when to expect eight tiny reindeer may touch down upon their roof.
Both sites load with a candy cane-striped bar to illustrate progress. Both utilize their mapping ability to display world-wide Christmas Eve progress. Each one even displays a countdown clock on its homepage, though these are strangely differing by about three hours, give or take a few minutes.
Microsoft has games and movies, while, quite frankly, Google’s service seems a bit baffling. To be honest, I’ve only played with it a small amount, but navigation was more difficult than that of its rival. Games, such as the jetpack elf scooping falling presents from the sky were hard to maneuver, certainly not child-friendly. Then again, my son may beg to differ. These things perhaps come more natural to his generation than mine.
Microsoft and NORAD felt easier to understand. There was also an element of learning involved, with a library designed to teach and not just entertain. Various traditions from other nations were talked about.
In the end, this comes down to the kids, not us adults. But, as we are the ones tasked with steering them in the proper direction, the choice resides with us. And that’s the question you must answer now, as there is little time left. How will you track Santa this year? Will you head to Google or Microsoft?