Santa ditches Google in favour of Microsoft, for this year's NORAD Tracker

The NORAD Santa Tracker, an online and app-supported way of seeing where Father Christmas is delivering presents on Christmas Eve, has switched from its usual mapping partner, Google, to Bing Maps this year. The festive service will remain as fun as ever, just with a slightly different backdrop.

In addition, news apps have been launched for Windows Phone, Android and iPhone/iPod touch, which kids can engage with even when they can't access a computer. The full tracker will still be available at noradsanta.org, however.

Microsoft's partnership with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD, naturally), means that the Santa Tracker tool is being hosted on Windows Azure for the first time, providing geospatial imagery through Bing Maps.

More 25 million hits are expected on Christmas Eve alone. You will also be able to track Santa in 3D through Cesium, the WebGL Virtual Golbe and Map Engine.

Obviously, none of the tracking works at present - after all, Santa is probably resting up before his mammoth annual task - but you can play mini-games and engage with the NORAD site in the meantime.