Every year since its launch in 2004, Google developers have made sure anyone with internet access can find out where Santa is on his toy delivery route using the Google Santa Tracker. This year, the team behind the tracker is giving users an additional surprise… and some behind-the-scenes information.
Google’s animated result upon searching “Where is Santa?”
Credit: Screenshot: Google
If you type “Where is Santa?” directly into the Google search bar, you’re shown a rather adorable animated short featuring some mischievous penguins and the Claus’ secret closet. After the short ends, you’ll see a couple suggestions for mini-games or other videos. But if you scroll down below the landing page, you’ll find the full gamut of available interactions – many of which helped other Google innovations later come to be.
The Santa Tracker originally launched in Dec. 2004, and has been continuously updated by Google’s team ever since. It’s gotten big features, like new coding games and voice assistant integration, and small ones, like a mask for Santa to protect himself and others during the pandemic. And according to the official Google blog, the developers behind each update have found that working on the Santa Tracker is not only a fun holiday tradition, but useful for overall Google service development, too.
“We figured out how to do so many different things because of Santa Tracker — how to build things, how to launch things, how to make things accessible, how to improve…