How to spread Christmas cheer the Google way

Google and NORAD are teaming up once more to track Santa Claus on his Christmas Eve flight around the world. But Google's holiday celebration doesn't stop there.
Written by Matt Weinberger, Contributor on

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Few companies get as into the Christmas spirit as Google. Here's a rundown of all the different ways you and yours can experience the reason for the season, including tracking Santa himself on Google Maps as he makes his deliveries worldwide, sending personalized video messages, and of course making it snow in your search results.

The most obvious thing Google's done is updated its homepage with one of its famous Google Doodles. Oddly enough, while several websites are reporting a seasonal Google logo that plays Jingle Bells, all this blogger sees is a festive, Christmas lights-themed version on the frontpage.

So your holiday mileage may vary. Earlier in the week, Google announced that you can send custom phone messages from Santa himself to loved ones - or leave him a message by dialing 855-34-SANTA, his Google Voice number. Google took it a step further with the ability to make custom video messages, too.

And speaking of Santa, as you may or may not know, NORAD has tracked Santa's flight every Christmas Eve since 1955, and this year, Google's getting in on the tradition once again. Starting 2AM EST on December 24th, you can visit noradsanta.org to see Santa's progress in Google Maps. Search [santa] on one of the Google Maps mobile applications, and you can see the same.

The website also offers "Santa cam" videos of his journey around the world, and will appear on a dedicated YouTube channel as they're captured. And with the right Google Earth plug-in, you can ride along in 3D (as shown in the above picture). NORAD's Santa-tracking team is going to be offering live updates on his progress on Google+, Twitter or Facebook, if that's your thing.

Finally, as you may or may not know by now, Googling "let it snow" turns your search results page into a winter wonderland. Between these little seasonal celebrations and its year-end philanthropic initiative, no one does Christmas like Google.

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