Google has now performed the annual update for its Santa Tracker application, prepping it for the 2017 holiday season. For those who aren't already aware, the Santa Tracker does pretty much what its name implies. It provides an interesting and fun way to track the present-wielding Santa Claus for families who celebrate the holidays and their children. Beyond that, it includes several fun activities to get users into the holiday spirit. For now, the update means that the app performs a basic countdown to Christmas. Users won't be able to start tracking St. Nick until December 24, so that feature is locked as of this writing. However, the countdown is also available as a watch face for Android Wear, for those users who happen to own one.
However, the application does include several activities and games to play while everybody waits. More of those will be added on a daily basis but, for now, those include City Quiz, Snowball Run, Gumball, Memory, Rocket Sleigh, Dasher Dancer, Penguin Swim, Santa Snap, and Present Quest. City Quiz, as its name implies, is a quick, five-question quiz centered around landmarks and other city-specific features. Snowball Run, on the other hand, is a runner that will see users dodging obstacles and using boosters in order to outrun both a snowball and fellow racers on their way down a snow-covered hill. That's similar to how Penguin Swim is played, though the latter moves players in the opposite direction, in the role of a penguin dodging ice blocks as it swims. Gumball sees users tilting their devices to drop gumballs into a chute, while Memory is a tap-based memorization game which has players opening doors to find matches – with both games pitting players against a timer. Rocker Sleigh, meanwhile, puts players behind the wheel of a rocket-powered sleigh, collecting gifts through Flappy Bird style gameplay mechanics. Dasher Dance features different North Pole-inspired characters dancing at the player's discretion via taps. Santa Snap, on the other hand, is a 3D rocket flight game where players navigate Santa around real-world locations, collecting objects and working toward a landmark in order to snap an in-game photo. Finally, Present Quest is a location-based AR game that requires users to walk around the real world, collecting virtual presents in order to level up.
Looking past the games, the app also includes some cute videos to watch and now has Google Cast capabilities so the experience can be shared with others. Santa Tracker itself, in the meantime, is completely free to use. So anybody looking for a way to kill time before the festivities start will probably want to check it out via the Google Play button below. Anybody who owns a Google Home or has access to Google Assistant and is looking to take things a bit further, meanwhile, will want to check out the recently added Call Santa activity.