The NORAD Santa Tracker’s tracking Santa Claus again (that video’s from 2010) and at this time, Santa, who I met here….
has delivered over 1.2 million gifts and counting. But there’s something missing.
In the past, this blogger would use Google Earth and embed the visual animation to my blog post – that provision’s not available this time around, and Google Earth’s not the app that NORAD’s using. According to Joanna Stern at ABC News, NORAD switched to Microsoft Bing.
“NORAD and Google have decided to go their separate ways and pursue other opportunities,” said Michael Kucharek, a spokesman for the project. “It was a mutually agreed upon decision that transpired earlier this year.”
That’s really bad because Google provided an effective Santa Tracker, but this blogger’s spider sense says that money was involved in the issue. Knowing Google’s drive toward gaining revenue from every place it can of late (witness the push to get YouTube Partners to pay to promote their own videos), it’s a fair bet they elected to charge NORAD for the cost of developing a new algorithm and NORAD said “no.” If so, that’s a bad bit of business dealing on Google’s part, as NORAD and the Santa Tracker have gone together like, well, peas and carrots.
There’s no word on why this happened, but from Google’s behavior it’s clear there was an argument. Google has rigged its search engine so that it’s own new Google Santa Tracker comes up before the more established NORAD Santa Tracker, now provided by Microsoft Bing. Consider that Google normally values an older web listing in a search result, pushing it higher – not this time. Google’s gamed the search to favor its own Santa Tracker, and observers are calling the work “sleazy.”
Google is doing evil…
Sleazy move from Google, outbidding & outranking NORAD’s 50+ year established Santa Tracker. twitter.com/danbarker/stat…
— dan barker (@danbarker) December 24, 2012
Google v Bing
Personally I’m not sold on the BING Santa Tracker version because it has Santa’s head just flying over places rather than the old map with presents being dropped in countries as time, and the Santa sleigh, went by.
Meanwhile, Google’s changes make Santa Tracking less exciting and more, well, tech than passion. The old system gave this blogger a view of Santa’s reach around the World from a space view. It was fun – this new system has dashboards and numbers and bad animation. I don’t like it, either.
That said, I have to admit I like the Google version slightly better than the Bing version. Google wins for tech, but looses for being the Grinch that stole Christmas.