Santa Tracker live: how to follow Santa with Norad or Google


Santa on the NORAD Santa tracker

(Image credit: NORAD)

The NORAD Santa Tracker is now also up and running! There are other ways of keeping track of what he’s doing of course, and technology only makes things easier – if you own a Google Home or Amazon Echo smart speaker then try asking it to ‘Call Santa’ to have a quick chat with the big man himself or one of his elf staff. Presumably the Sleigh has a roof on it to prevent wind noise or he’s had to stop for a quick break.

Santa in New Zealand on the Google Santa Tracker

(Image credit: Google)

Santa has landed in New Zealand! He’s likely had to take his jacket off as it’s 17°C / 62°F right now, so it’s little wonder that a BBQ is just as likely to be the official meal of Christmas day alongside a traditional roast lunch or dinner.

Kiwis also have their own special Christmas Tree, the Pōhutukawa which has bright red flowers that are popular decorations and also feature on Christmas cards. It’s been associated with Christmas since the mid 1800s, though many people do also erect the globally recognised pine-style tree in their homes.

A very excited elf using a laptop

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Roman Samborskyi)

With Santa already hard at work it seems like the NORAD Santa tracker is having a hard time keeping track of him! Luckily the big man has his most excitable elf currently working to try and get things up and running, and for now, you can stick with using the Google Santa tracker.

Of course, this could be down to how fast he’s flying around the world. Did you know that Santa’s sleigh has to travel 650 miles per second (that’s 3,000 times the speed of sound!) in order to deliver all those presents on time? Elon Musk’s rockets could never compete with Santa’s magical reindeer.

Santa over the arctic ocean

(Image credit: Google)

And he’s off! Can confirm he’s now heading over the Arctic Ocean and has already delivered nearly 2000 presents.

St Nick is good at this, right?

NORAD is readying the closer inspection – last update: “NORAD radars and satellites are ready to track Santa!”

Early wait for Santa at the North pole on a map

(Image credit: Google)

We’re t-minus 10 minutes from the take off – the Google Live Feed is, well, live now, and he’s prepping to leave the North Pole.

NORAD is still showing him in the workshop at the moment – the big man is cutting it fine here.

watch home alone online

(Image credit: Disney Plus/20th Century Fox)

There’s a big debate going on right now – which is the best Christmas film? For me, it’s Home Alone – but that’s a bit of a lonely one in our house at the moment, because the small person we have can’t watch it yet.

We put it on, thinking that it would be a nice thing for her to watch last year, and she turns to us 10 minutes in, with wide, watering eyes and whispers ‘…they don’t leave him do they?’

‘NOPE!’ came the swift reply, turning off the TV. She now thinks Home Alone is a short film about a family preparing for a trip and that’s it.

Anyway, if you’re wondering which the top choices are, check out our best Christmas movie list and argue amongst yourselves – let us know over on @techradar on Twitter.

I can confirm that Santa is still in his workshop preparing. Estimating 50 minutes until takeoff.

Good news – the NORAD tracking site has confirmed: “Current conditions at the North Pole indicate good weather for flying.”

That’s what we like to hear.

Santa tracker 2020

(Image credit: Google)

Watch out if you’re trying to play some of the games in the Google Santa Tracker village – we’re live testing with small children right now, and the pages seem to be hanging.

Here’s how to fix it: when the page shows the picture of Santa and Mrs Claus holding hands (wearing masks, excellent), just click the URL at the top or bottom of the page and reload it. That seems to solve it.

Child surrounded by teddies with an Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker

Now guys, listen up: ‘Alexa, where’s Santa?’ (Image credit: Amazon)

If you want to find out where Santa is hands free, and you have an Echo or Echo Dot, then another trick you can try is enabling the NORAD Santa Tracker skill on Alexa, which will then allow you to say things like “Alexa, ask NORAD Tracks Santa, where’s Santa?” – it’s a bit cumbersome but if Alexa is the only smart assistant in your house, you’ve got to work with what you’ve got.

You can ask ‘Alexa, where’s Santa?’ if you enable another holiday personality skill too – head into the app and you’ll see it displayed proudly at the top, and you can get stories, info and all manner of things too.

reindeer in wind tunnel cartoon

Santa’s workshop running tests on the reindeer ahead of time (Image credit: Google)

Good morning! We are very, very close to Santa taking off and beginning his trip around the world to give billions of gifts to the good boys and girls of this world, but we can confirm he is still checking his sleigh, sack of presents and the engineering elves are making the final checks to his new TurboKringle Elevation Yonder 9000 rocket (TurKEY 9000).

We’ve been checking the specs of his sleigh over at the NORAD website, and while they’ve clearly not been informed of the new TurKEY rocket, they still estimate that Santa can move faster than starlight using just basic 9 Reindeer Power.

Man alive, he’s going to be rapid this year, then.

Santa tracker

(Image credit: Google)

Right, it’s still a fair few hours before we see Santa take off, so I’m off for some rest – I’m pretty sure a small child is going to wake me up with the excitement of opening their calendar for the final time, so some shut-eye is needed.

However, it won’t be long and I’ll be back with all you need to know as Santa takes to the skies – as well as fun and interesting (promise) information on how Santa tracking even came into being.

Google uses this Santa Tracker as a way of learning more about its systems and tools, letting its developers play with computer and mobile interactions in new ways.

According to a blog post, they don’t always work though…

” One engineer who focused on AI and human movement came up with this idea for a game where you could enable tracking on your computer and teach the elves to dance,” said Dave Holmes of Google, “and they would mimic your movement.” But just before launch…they found a glitch. “If the tracker lost you for a second…the elves’ heads and arms would go flying off!”

Chatting to the Radar AI

(Image credit: Future)

I thought it might be fun to try our Radar, NORAD’s chatbot, to see how it was getting on before Santa Claus takes off.

It’s not the most together of articifial intelligence at this time, but he’s probably like me and so excited for Christmas that it can hardly sleep – deprivation of the zzz’s makes anything hard.

More ways to talk to Santa than ever

Google Home Hub

(Image credit: Google)

Can’t be bothered calling or using the internet with your fingers?

You can use Google Assistant to communicate directly with the patron of presents (either using Google Assistant baked into you Android phone, the Google app on iPhone in some regions or a Google-enabled smart speaker), allowing anyone to say ‘Hey Google, what’s new at the North Pole’ and hear the latest news updates from Santa’s world.

Well, here we are. Santa is set to take off in just a few hours, and we’ll be following his progress closely. Here’s a taste of what you can expect from last year, when he was sailing over the Taj Majal – Google showed him landing gifts for thousands of children, with a total of how many presents he’s dispensed.

Spoiler, he does loads. Even with the magic of the sleigh, I’m not sure how he manages to carry them all, but I’ve watched enough Christmas films to know never to question the magic lest he miss my house this year.

Google Santa Tracker India

Santa delivering gifts to the Taj Mahal in India last year (Image credit: Google)

Marcy Willis

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