Where Is Santa Right Now? Best Tracker Apps To Follow St. Nick On Your Smartphone In Real Time

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It's Christmas Eve and many children around the world may be wondering where Santa is. But no need to hitch up your reindeer to your sled looking for the man in the big red suit; You can now track Santa with a click of a button on your smartphone.

According to Google, Santa took off into the sky with his reindeer delivering presents to his first stop in New Zealand on Monday. He will continue on through the night and make his way around the globe while you follow his journey.

For 2012, tacking Santa is easy with just a touch of your smartphone and free to download.

Google has a free Santa tracker app for Android along with its tracker online on Google Earth and extension for Google Chrome. The Android app from Google Inc. is called "Google Santa Tracker" and available for free on Android smartphones.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which has been tracking Santa's whereabouts on Christmas Eve for 57 years, also has apps for Android, iOS and Windows phones. The app called "NORAD Tracks Santa" is available on iOS, Android and Windows 8 from Visionbox Inc. with a free download.

Its latest partnership with Bing has this year brought a new Windows 8 tracker app for the smartphone.

Tracking Santa has come a long way since the first time Santa partnered with NORAD in 1955. It all began when a Sears, Roebuck & Co department store posted an advertisement with a number to call Santa directly. However, a typo in the ad directed children's calls to NORAD's predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command, routed to either the chairman, secretary of defense or the president rather than Santa.

But the typo did not stop children from getting in touch with Santa Claus. Colonel Harry Shoup instructed his team to give all of the children calling information about Santa, giving birth to the tradition.

For those without smartphones, children can still call Santa in the traditional way by picking up the phone and calling the hotline at 1-877-HI-NORAD.

NORAD, who reported over 102,000 phone calls last year, has phone lines set up with volunteer Santa trackers.

"Every December 24th since 1955 we have been telling children exactly where Santa is so that children all over the world can make sure that they're in bed on time so that Santa will deliver their presents," deputy chief at NORAD, Stacey Knott, told Reuters.

Users can also personally call Santa on Google through the new web chat feature.

If you'd like to track Santa on your computer through NORAD or Google Maps, check out our guide for Santa trackers here.

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