Google's Santa Tracker is back this year as well, and Google is changing some things along the way. Google's Santa Village is also back, and this time around, location sharing in Google Maps is enabled, which gives you another really great way to follow Santa's journey this Christmas. Now, for the most part, the app remains the same as last year, though a new version of the app is now here, version 5.3.0, while it was 5.1.4 before. All the games that you enjoyed last year are still here, with the addition of an "Elf Maker", which is a feature / game which allows you to create your custom elf, and of course, share it with whomever you'd like. Now, if you'd like to play some of these games via the app directly, some of them are working, though some are having problems loading for one reason or the other, but Google is expected to fix that in the near future, and those are mostly games that are app-exclusive. Games that are available via desktop, the mobile site and in-app all seem to be working just fine. On top of everything, you have a new sticker pack available in Gboard, which is associated with the update of the Google Santa Tracker application. Google also says that lesson plans, PDFs, and instructional videos can be found in Santa's Village starting this week, while you'll also be able to interact with this app, sort of, via Google Assistant. Starting December 23, you'll be able to ask Google Assistant "Hey Google, where's Santa?", and the Google Assistant will share his location with you.
Background: The Google Santa Tracker application has been available in the Google Play Store for quite some time, and it makes the headlines every year, mainly because Google adds new features on a yearly basis, just to keep things fresh. This app has been quite interesting to kids, which is not surprising, and with this year's additions, it will certainly give them some more stuff to play around with.
Impact: There are various Santa Tracking applications out there, but Google's is arguably the most popular one, which is not that surprising as it offers plenty of features, and it comes directly from the company. It is possible that Google will add more features to the app in the coming days, as there's still time before the app becomes fully relevant, which gives the company some time to fix those games that are not working, and possibly add more content. This app is currently holding a 4.2-star rating in the Google Play Store, and over the course of its existence, it has been downloaded over a million times. The app is not that big, it weighs only 10MB, and if you'd like to get into the holiday spirit, or provide your kid with some Christmas-related fun, feel free to download it, a download link is included down below, as per usual. Do keep in mind that you will need to run Android 5.0+ on your phone in order to download and use this application, though, as it doesn't support anything older than that.