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Google Christmas Cheer Technology

Google Loses Santa To Bing 153

Posted by timothy
from the who's-been-nice-to-whom dept.
New submitter Sebolains writes "Unlike previous years, NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) has decided to use Bing maps to track Santa's journey as he goes around the world delivering presents. Starting Christmas eve, one will be able to go to the official NORAD Santa tracking site and use Bing maps to see where Santa is delivering presents at that time. In previous years, NORAD has always gone for Google maps to track Saint Nick. The reason for this switch were not disclosed, but since nearly 25 million people are expected to use this tool come this Christmas, this will definitely benefit Bing in the ongoing competition for online map applications."
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Google Loses Santa To Bing

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  • by Kenja (541830) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:10PM (#42278615)
    And that's why no presents, he got lost.
    • by durrr (1316311) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:15PM (#42278703)

      The mayans predicted the disaster that is Apple maps. The end of the era is due to Santa using his iPhone to navigate and strays into NK airspace, being mistaken for a US spyplane and swiftly shot down.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The NK rockets only hit the ocean by accident. They weren't aiming for it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "We got a Red Sleigh down, we got a Red Sleigh down!"

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:19PM (#42278777) Journal

      And that's why no presents, he got lost.

      "No presents this year, little Timmy. Also, I just got off the phone with the Australian Authorities who said they found Santa dead in Murray Sunset National Park [slashdot.org]. Unfortunately it looks like Santa had a new iPhone for navigation and was forced to eat eight of his reindeer. Then there was apparently a struggle between him and the last reindeer. After several blows, it broke free and eventually flew off to leave Santa to bleed out in the dirt from gory antler wounds. These are sad times but we still have each other, just no more frivolous Christmas gifts -- ever again!"

      *walks away nipping on a fifth of bourbon*

      • Ironically, while the initial problem and police warning got a lot of press coverage, neither the fact that Apple fixed their directions by the very next day [technobuffalo.com] nor the fact that Google Maps has had an ongoing similar issue (Australian police also issued a warning for Google Maps this week, since it's routing traffic, including buses, down a one-way dirt track through the wilderness [yahoo.com]) have been reported very much.

        I know the saying is that a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can put on its

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Ironically, while the initial problem and police warning got a lot of press coverage, neither the fact that Apple fixed their directions by the very next day [technobuffalo.com]

          Good news! The courier sent to deliver that press release has been found. You'll never guess what happened....

    • ...is they didn't want Santa to die going the wrong way [inquisitr.com]
      or accidentally flying over a major airport Google does not show [flickr.com].

      • by Sylak (1611137)
        There's a fair chance that Google was asked to hide the airport though...
        • by X0563511 (793323)

          I can't find KATL either. If I search for it I just get a hotel, which happens to be on the premises.

      • by _xeno_ (155264)

        or accidentally flying over a major airport Google does not show [flickr.com].

        Google Maps does show the airport [google.com].

        Click on that link anyway. It includes a search for "airport." When I did it originally, it came up with Los Angeles International as the only result. Clicking on it again to make sure the zoom level is the same shows me Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia as the top hit, followed by San Fransisco International Airport. At least Google's got both coasts covered?

        It's weird because there's a "Denver Airport" place marker on Google Maps, but I

        • Click on that link anyway. It includes a search for "airport."

          Right, that's zoomed in - you could see the shape of it also on the image I linked. But you couldn't see any sign that shape was the airport - if you were a traveller you would not know where to zoom in, when I travel I just zoom out from the city and search for "Airport" all the time. If you zoom out on your link you'll find that none of the search results are at that location although at least they are in the same city!

          I was actually pretty a

      • by pmontra (738736)
        I just fired up Google Maps on my Android phone, asked for Denver International Airport and found it, but who knows, different devices might return different results or Google fixed it.
    • I agree. I've had horrible luck trying to find places the few times I've used Bing. It's an awful service.

  • by sorensenbill (1931240) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:13PM (#42278659)
    I've never used them for navigation but Bing maps(furnished by Nokia I believe) have much better aeriel photos. I can see my house from 6 angles on Bing, which is mostly blocked by a large tree on Google. That being said I still use Google maps for pretty much everything else just because I'm used to it.
    • by Grand (152636) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:01PM (#42279521)

      You can do multiple angles on the satellite images on google maps. It is not as intuitive as Bing, but you have to drag 'N" that surrounds the Pan tool to the different cardinal directions to get it to rotate. I will agree with you though that Bing's aerial images are better (at least in my experience).

      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        I didn't know Bing had maps.

        Then again....I've not seen Bing since I think they came online and everyone took a look a them....

    • by admdrew (782761)

      I can see my house from 6 angles on Bing

      Source?

      • by cellocgw (617879)

        I can see my house from 6 angles on Bing

        Doesn't count unless you can see Putin's house.

    • by magarity (164372)

      I've never used them for navigation but Bing maps(furnished by Nokia I believe) have much better aeriel photos. I can see my house from 6 angles on Bing, which is mostly blocked by a large tree on Google. That being said I still use Google maps for pretty much everything else just because I'm used to it.

      You know you really need to step away from the computer and get outside more if seeing your own house on the screen makes you so happy!

  • by Sesostris III (730910) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:15PM (#42278715)
    I'm not exactly sure why, but when it comes to mapping some non-existent being's non-existent journey, Bing seems somehow so much more appropriate than Google.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:18PM (#42278763)

    It has made Santa very mad that he has to specify the pictures he is looking for... naughty or nice...

  • The reason for this switch were not disclosed, but since nearly 25 million people are expected to use this tool come this Christmas

    Google Maps pricing probably forced them to Bing which at this point is still cheaper by an order of magnitude compared to Google Maps.

    • that or Microsoft offered it for free or is paying for it just to get the publicity.

      • by dj245 (732906)

        that or Microsoft offered it for free or is paying for it just to get the publicity.

        I'm fine with that. Bing web search might suck but Bing maps are really Nokia maps. Which are quite good. Better than Google maps in some cases.

        • by morcego (260031) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:02PM (#42279531)

          Also, it is not like Google is the small kid that needs to be protected against Microsoft.

          Whatever the reason for the switch, in a nutshell we can simply say: Google dropped the ball.

        • by Lehk228 (705449) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @05:17PM (#42280755) Journal
          their data may be ok but their software that interfaces it is horribly out of date, it would have been acceptable during the era of streets and trips '97

          with google maps i can put a search string (such as a business name town and state; or even something more generic like Gas town state) in as a destination address and it will automatically retrieve the address if it has it, if there are multiple matches it pops up a (did you mean) dialog then plugs them in for you.
  • by John Pfeiffer (454131) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:21PM (#42278819) Homepage

    NORAD, using Microsoft products... Well, at least we know how the world ends.

    • by brianben (965786)
      Gives new meaning to BSOD
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I haven't coded to either in about two years, but at the time Bing maps had superior APIs and were much nicer to work with from the dev standpoint. Quality of the maps themselves were pretty comparable. In our app we used Bing for that reason (nicer APIs).

    • NORAD, using Microsoft products... Well, at least we know how the world ends.

      The software worries you, but not the fact that they spend their resources to fictionally track a fictional character, possibly making gullible people (children) believe it's real? Makes you wonder what other information they fake, if you're a conspiracy theorist at least. :)

    • at least we know how the world ends

      Have you tried turning it off and on again?

  • Well, useless fantasy information ending where it belongs? ;)

  • Microsoft simply made an offer nobody could refuse.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Somebody woke up with a reindeer head in their bed. On a more serious note, WTF is wrong with people that they go to this much trouble to lie to children?
  • by Triv (181010) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:28PM (#42278927) Journal

    "But since nearly 25 million people are expected to use this tool come this Christmas, this will definitely benefit Bing in the ongoing competition for online map applications."

    Yeah? Prove it.

    • by Nyder (754090)

      "But since nearly 25 million people are expected to use this tool come this Christmas, this will definitely benefit Bing in the ongoing competition for online map applications."

      Yeah? Prove it.

      I imagine the first kid that says "I binged Santa's flight last night" is going to get laughed at by rest the school kids.

  • After spending the last few years watching their users' every move, they've moved on to tracking other imaginary beings.
  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by empty_other (1116615) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:32PM (#42278979) Homepage
    Well payed, Microsoft. Well payed..
  • Now Santa won't be your parents anymore. Now will be your Big Brother.
  • Do we really have to feed the insanity?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I would like to see the actual decision making process behind this....

    http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/g-639.pdf

    and any and all emails from any Microsoft employee associated to this decision.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:54PM (#42279371) Journal
    How on earth does NORAD not have its own satellite imagery that they could use?
    • I'm sure they do have the imagery. On someone's hard drive. In a vault.1

      Google / Bing have the technology that makes it far easier to implement over the web. Why reinvent the wheel when you can have the professionals do it?

    • Yeah, so you could track Santa down your chimney and into your living room!
  • The story prompted me to look at bing maps. Very first direction request produced a poor route. When dragging the route to change it gives less time and distance, you know it's not the source to use! There is no way to reset a drag! etc. etc. I'll stick with google.

    But one wonders how this government agency was co-opted.

  • It's much better now, but for a while I had a heck of a time with Google Maps crashing where Bing Maps worked great. This was in Google Chrome... on Linux. I use both now, and the Google Maps app on my Android phone is getting laggy and crashy enough that I put Bing on it as backup. Still like the Google Maps interface better on Android though.

  • by olddoc (152678) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:00PM (#42279493)
    I read on some gold plates that the Flying Spaghetti Monster uses Google Maps for His flying.
    • Re:FSM uses Google maps
      But what kind of tablet does God use?
      .
      Yeah, but I want to find a good high resolution picture of Moses coming down the mountain and zoom in using CSI super-resolution-zoom capabilities and find out what kind of tablet he used to read those ten commandments on. If that brand of tablet was good enough for God, it ought to be good enough for me to give out as presents this year, right? ;>)
  • In addition to Bing Maps, NORAD is also using a new open source, WebGL-based, 3D globe called Cesium: http://cesium.agi.com/2012/11/30/NORAD-Tracks-Santa-Tech-Preview/ [agi.com]

    This is one of the most significant uses of WebGL to date and will hopefully do a lot to increase awareness of the technology.

    Disclaimer: I work on Cesium.

    • by grcumb (781340)

      In addition to Bing Maps, NORAD is also using a new open source, WebGL-based, 3D globe called Cesium: http://cesium.agi.com/2012/11/30/NORAD-Tracks-Santa-Tech-Preview/ [agi.com]

      This is one of the most significant uses of WebGL to date and will hopefully do a lot to increase awareness of the technology.

      Disclaimer: I work on Cesium.

      No, that's a disclosure. A disclaimer is 'CAUTION. Cesium is a known mutagen.'

  • Am I the only one surprised to find out that Bing has a map application?

    I always assumed they would use Yahoo Maps for some reason.

  • If Santa was using Apple Maps, your presents would be delivered down someone's chimney 7 miles away......

    • by azalin (67640)
      So for some people this might actually offer some improvement over the usual lump of coal.
  • Santa is a completely fictitious figure who does not go flying around on Christmas Eve!

    And NORAD is not tracking a real thing!

    And anyone, can make up a "track Santa" map application!

    WTF?

    If having a "track Santa" map is important to Google, I'm sure they can create just that. This story makes no sense at all.
    • by magarity (164372)

      Santa is a completely fictitious figure who does not go flying around on Christmas Eve! And NORAD is not tracking a real thing! And anyone, can make up a "track Santa" map application! WTF? If having a "track Santa" map is important to Google, I'm sure they can create just that. This story makes no sense at all.

      NORAD has been doing this tracking Santa gimmick annually since the 50's, well before just anyone could make a map app, when a published wrong number caused kids to call them instead of a department store. The base commander who answered the first calls had a sense of humor, liked children, and thought fast enough on his feet to give a "tracking report". It gives people serving in uniform a chance to talk to citizens they're protecting while on duty on a holiday and vice-versa. I suppose you would have yell

      • by miltonw (892065)

        I suppose you would have yelled at them to stop wasting your time with nonsense?

        LOL! I have no idea where you got that from! That's too funny!

        For you, I'll make my point very, very simple: Maybe this is a popular map but NORAD does not own "Santa" or the idea that Santa flies around on Christmas Eve. Also, because the "data" is fictitious, they don't actually own "Santa's track data". With me so far?

        So, if this "map" was important to Google, nothing can stop them from creating their own "map of Santa's travel". So there is no actual problem for Google. Hence, this story is k

      • by miltonw (892065)

        NORAD has been doing this tracking Santa gimmick annually since the 50's.... It gives people serving in uniform a chance to talk to citizens they're protecting while on duty on a holiday and vice-versa.

        You are, apparently, unaware that they don't do this any more. The Bing map doesn't allow conversations between service members and the public. That's all done with and has been for quite a while. I really don't know why you are upset.

        • by huntes (533085)
          They actually do still have phone banks on the 24th, and the public can call up and speak to real volunteers. It is certainly not "all done with".
        • by PhxBlue (562201)

          You are, apparently, unaware that they don't do this any more.

          Apparently, NORAD is also unaware that they don't do this anymore, because they're advertising the program and asking for volunteers again this year [csmng.com] (.pdf).

        • by Rockoon (1252108) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @08:43PM (#42283191)

          You are, apparently, unaware that they don't do this any more.

          You are, apparently, unaware that you have three options when you don't know what you are talking about.

          A) Don't talk.
          B) Talk anyways, but make it clear that you are guessing and making assumptions.
          C) Talk anyways, but act like you know what you are talking about.

          You blew right through both A and B and went right to C, the one that proves that you care more about looking like you know what you are talking about, than actually knowing what you are talking about.

          • by miltonw (892065)
            Gee, thanks! That's so very, very kind of you to help a poor, misguided individual such as myself to improve himself. I'm so glad you are here to impart your incredible wisdom to those less fortunate. Truly, I am so very grateful. I hope you can hang around and continue to help me in all my posting endeavors. Once again, you have my deep and undying gratitude for your careful, thoughtful and detailed instructions. I really don't know what I would do without your tremendous assistance. Thanks again!

            A
        • by miltonw (892065)
          Before yet another kind commenter feels compelled to correct me (and insult me for my mistake) I'd like to acknowledge that I was mistaken about NORAD not taking phone calls any more.
    • by Nyder (754090)

      Santa is a completely fictitious figure who does not go flying around on Christmas Eve!

      And NORAD is not tracking a real thing!

      And anyone, can make up a "track Santa" map application!

      WTF?

      If having a "track Santa" map is important to Google, I'm sure they can create just that. This story makes no sense at all.

      wow, I imagine you are just super festive around the kids!

      • by miltonw (892065)

        wow, I imagine you are just super festive around the kids!

        I didn't think I was talking to kids. If anyone reading this is a child, I take it all back: Santa is real!

  • by miltonw (892065) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:42PM (#42280149)
    I think a better title for this story would be "Apparently, NORAD owns 'Santa' and has now sold him to Microsoft"
  • by hurfy (735314)

    A little less impressed with Google maps when it didn't have the TOWN i was looking for listed. Bing and Mapquest were both able to show me but Google comes up with nada. Tough to find the cars hidden in barns hidden in the middle of wheat fields when one has no clue where the town in the ad is at for the start point! To be fair they all found the actual gravel road and Bing also lists it as next city over. Google just doesn't label or recognize the small old town nearest it.

    • by Nyder (754090)

      A little less impressed with Google maps when it didn't have the TOWN i was looking for listed. Bing and Mapquest were both able to show me but Google comes up with nada. Tough to find the cars hidden in barns hidden in the middle of wheat fields when one has no clue where the town in the ad is at for the start point! To be fair they all found the actual gravel road and Bing also lists it as next city over. Google just doesn't label or recognize the small old town nearest it.

      let it all out. we are here for you.

  • Google is definitely getting too big and powerful.
    It's good to show people that there are alternatives.

    Have we already forgotten this [slashdot.org]?

    • by Nyder (754090)

      Google is definitely getting too big and powerful.
      It's good to show people that there are alternatives.

      Have we already forgotten this [slashdot.org]?

      Wow, just wow.

      If you think that is the worse thing that google could do, then I'm glad I don't live in your glass house. That change is so small, and considering the public that used google, a smart change.

      I find them not paying $10 billion in taxes to be a worse offense myself, but whatever.

      • by lilfields (961485)
        I think we shouldn't have a corporate tax at all, most finance experts agrees that they don't make sense (liberal, conservative, whatever)...they just make for good politics. I'd much rather make the tax on corporations 0 in the U.S. and hike the top tax brackets, it makes tons of economic sense. Billions are sitting off shore because of the corporate tax, it could all come home if it were 0 and spur job growth and people using the U.S. as a tax haven rather than vice-versa.
        • by alexo (9335)

          If there is no corporate tax then a lot of money will stay within the corporation, to be spent on "corporate" perks.
          Did you think that the high-up executables pay for their private jets [airliners.net] with their own money?

      • by alexo (9335)

        Wow, just wow.

        I am amazed by your eloquence.

        If you think that is the worse thing that google could do, then I'm glad I don't live in your glass house.

        I provided a recent example that was discussed on slashdot.
        Where exactly did I say it was the worst thing they could do, or has done?

        That change is so small, and considering the public that used google, a smart change.

        Look at the big picture.
        Google have now demonstrated that they are able and willing to manipulate search results according to their agendas.
        Everybody complains about biased news outlets trying to manipulate public opinion and perception. And yet, when the largest search engine, run by an advertisement company (Google's latest financial filings sh

  • So wassat? something cool? Lemme google that!

  • I didn't know Bing was a map application. I thought Bing was that guy that was tap dancing with Danny F**king Kaye on the hap-hap-happiest Christmas ever with those jolly bunch of a**holes at the Griswold's? :-)
  • by Trogre (513942)

    Isn't that that search engine that nobody uses, except characters in Hollywood action movies?

  • People make fun of Bing, but Bing Maps, images and video searches are all excellent, in some ways better than Google...it's in text search Google hands down beats the snot out of Microsoft, since that's what I mostly search for I use Google...but I wouldn't laugh at Bing, it's fairly good in it's non-core elements.
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @08:40PM (#42283147) Journal

    NORAD asked for a "Bing Crosby Xmas", and somebody fscked-up the order.

  • Surely Google can do their own version of Santa flying, anyway?

    I don't believe it's exclusive, trade-secret information. Or even particularly accurate - is Santa REALLY over France at that exact moment?

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