In addition to receiving new corporate sponsorship, this year NORAD has a gift of their own to give to Santa watchers around the world. Search Engine Land reports,
Last year, NORAD didn’t push its own mobile apps, instead sending people to simple search for “santa” using Google Maps on their phones. This year, NORAD Track Santa is offering apps for Windows Phone, Google Play and iPhone/iPad/iOS, along with a Windows 8 app.
It’s a pretty big win for Microsoft and should give its products greater exposure, though I’m kind of sad that NORAD Tracks Santa is now developing into a service that corporations are clearly fighting over to sponsor. But I love the service, and if it helps support it, cool.
In a statement to Search Engine Land, NORAD wrote:
Google supported NTS [NORAD Tracks Santa] from 2007-2011 and helped increase NTS program awareness across the globe; NORAD is grateful for the partnership and the resulting success. This year, NTS and Google mutually agreed to go in new directions, and we are excited to welcome a number of new contributors, to include Microsoft, Windows Azure, Bing, and iLink-systems, among others, to help us in our mission of tracking Santa. The ability to work with a diverse team of contributors is fundamental to the NTS mission, and we appreciate all of the continued support of all contributors.
It will be interesting to see how this new sponsorship of a beloved online tradition affects seasonal search patterns. Can St. Nick give Bing a boost this Christmas, or will Google take the holiday fruitcake? Let us know what you think in the comments.