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Google Santa Tracker: how to follow Santa right now

Santa Tracker
(Image credit: Google)

The Santa Tracker from Google is live, he's tracking all over the world, dispensing absolutely billions of presents.

We were worried that this year's present-giving might not happen, and if ever there was a year where we needed to have some festive cheer, it's right now - and it turns out that the Santa Tracker is possible because Father Christmas has actually had the vaccine already, according to Dr Fauci in the US.

Santa's village is also bursting with a whole host of mini-games, videos and activities to play - bookmark this page as we'll be running through the key ones for you to get involved with, whether you're entertaining little ones or not.

The key thing to do to follow the jolly old man is to jump to Santatracker.google.com to see where he's at (currently, the sleigh is being prepared for final checks with all those presents). 

It works on both desktop and mobile pretty well, and a tap of the menu in the top left-hand corner will give you access to all the lovely things you can do this year... just don't have your sound up too loud as it rather blares out of the Santa Tracker.

Google Santa Tracker India

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

We're hard at work testing the games that are being offered in the Santa Tracker - don't say we're not a properly researching site.

Our top Santa Tracker games

How to play the Santa games on mobile

SAnta tracker

(Image credit: Google)

Every year, when we publish this guide, we have people wondering how to play the games on mobile. Well, just go to the Santa Tracker site on a mobile browser, click the three lines in the top left-hand corner and see all the games to play. (Note - the 'install' option, which tells you to 'Add to Home Screen' doesn't work on iPhones).

Elf Jamband

This neat mini-game lets you create your very own Christmas band with Santa’s elves, dragging and dropping different instruments in to make a rocking tune. With a choice of saxophone, guitar, drums, and more, you can make a festive song in seconds. 

Our favorite band member has to be the singing elf, who sounds like a scatting chipmunk – headphones are very much recommended unless you have a high tolerance for repetition. 

Elf Jetpack

Guide your elf as they soar through the air collecting presents and candy – the more you collect, the more time you have to play and beat your high score. You control your elf using your computer’s arrow keys, and while it may seem easy at first, it quickly gets more and more challenging. Watch out for those pesky lumps of coal – they’ll knock a few points off your score, while flying over falling pocket watches will give you more precious time to play.

Quick Draw

Santa Tracker

(Image credit: Google)

“It is amazing! You get so much fun because they say what you have to draw and then you have to try and draw it. “

This is from the child’s review - the premise is a robot is using machine learning to work out what’s being drawn in pen. It’s actually rather fun, although getting it to recognise things like ‘Candy’ is a little tricky. Stupid robot.

Hang on, is this us helping Google’s machine learning get smarter? This is the description: 

“Tensor is Santa's Machine Learning robot that helps him quickly decipher the letters he receives from children all over the world. To help Tensor practice, draw a picture of each holiday word on the screen and it will tell you what it sees. The more you draw, the smarter Tensor will get, so let's help Santa be more efficient than ever this holiday season!”

Hmmm…

Present Bounce

PResent bounce Santa Tracker

(Image credit: Google)

 “The game is fun, but you just have to make sure that the springs work properly. That’s basically it.”

The little person’s review above doesn’t really do the situation justice - trying to play it on a tablet wasn’t a pleasant experience, as you need to move springs and conveyor belts around the board to get the gumball to drop in where you need it to.

It’s so much easier on a laptop with a mouse and keyboard - as most of these games are. But it’s a fun, diverting way to get the little ones to think logically / waste time when you’re supposed to be working on Christmas Eve.

Snowball Storm

This Battle Royale-style game sees you slinging your way around a forest, dodging behind trees and grabbing power-ups in the shape of presents. It's infuriating and slightly addictive - you need to master the tap (or click) to really make your way through it. 

It was so infuriating that it incited one our writers to pen... well, this. Read it to understand his battle with futility at this game.

Memory Match

A basic matching of symbols behind Christmas doors, it starts easy then the timer starts to tick down... we went from scorn to annoyance at how hard it became before figuring out there was a pattern.

Santa Search

This is Where's Waldo (or Where's Wally, to the UK dwellers) on an interactive scale - an annoyingly diverting title.

Present Bounce

Bounce the presents into the right hole by putting the building blocks in the right place - another one where our 'research' took us down a rabbit hole we didn't expect...

The site has been live throughout December for parents and teachers alike to help their children be entertained while learning at the same time - this allows children to learn how to speak other languages with simple Christmas phrases, or to code by making elves dance or

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Gareth Beavis

Global Editor-in-Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.