As Santa Claus and his elves prepare for their biggest night of the year, NORAD and Google are getting ready to track his big Christmas Eve ride.
Volunteers at NORAD, or the North American Aerospace Defense Command, report that they're prepped and ready to go at the Tracks Santa Operations Center in Colorado Springs.
The annual tracking program, which began in 1958 and went online in 1998, started at 2 a.m. ET today. Users can go to the NORAD web site to watch, via NORAD's Santa cam, as St. Nick gets ready for his ride and then takes off to make his way around the globe. They also can speak with a live phone operator to ask about Santa's whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number for the Santa Holiday Hotline: 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723).
Visitors also can message NORAD for an update on Santa by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NORAD has some company when it comes to tracking Santa. Google enabled its users to track Santa's toy-giving ride on Google Earth.
"All of the action will be tracked on the official Santa Tracker site ," the company wrote in a blog post. "To follow Santa while you're on the go, there is a Santa Tracker app available for Android, which gives you easy mobile access to track his journey.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is email@example.com.