teamed up again to help you figure out when Santa Claus will be landing on a rooftop near you.
This year's tracking of jolly old St. Nick promises to be better than ever. Google will feature the popular Google Earth addition that allows you to dynamically track Santa mid-flight (available at 6 AM ET / -05:00 GMT on Christmas Eve, December 24th), "Santa Cam" footage, and geo-tagged Panoramio photos on Google Maps.
For 2008, Google has included a few more jingle bells and whistles. You can track St. Nicholas from your phone with Google Maps for mobile by activating the service and searching for "norad santa." And what 2008 holiday would be complete without a Twitter entity? You can also get tweets from Santa by following @noradsanta.
Even if you're not into celebrating Xmas, this spectacle showcases an interesting application of available technology - and a test for scalability as millions of users pummel the Google servers for information on Mr. C. Stepping back, this always leads me to wonder what would happen if this same type of thinking were applied to other quandaries of tracking and informing the public. Using all of these methods to track Santa Claus could prove very informative for any number of applications.
But enough of that Grinch/Scrooge thinking.
This marks the fourth year Google has participated in the tracking effort. And there's a great backstory to the Santa-tracking tradition at Google.
This seems to be as good of a time as any for us to say, "Thank you." Happy holidays from all of us here at ReadWriteWeb. All the best to you and yours. And whether you're among those who are hoping for a visit from Santa Claus or not, may all of your wishes come true - and if they don't, you'll know where to track down the big guy, thanks to Google.
Photo "Santa Claus" by Grzegorz ?obi?ski used under Creative Commons