This Week in Digital…

Becky Grainger

This week in digital

Google vs Microsoft

With only three weeks to go until the big day, both Google and Microsoft have launched their own Santa Tracker websites. Google is using their Google Maps technology to track Santa whereas Microsoft have once again partnered with NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

In the build up to the 25th Googles’ site allows you to unlock a new game or activity every day, including jolly JavaScript courses and reindeer races. In an official blog post by Sandy Russell the Santa Launch Strategist states that: “throughout the holiday celebration, our own developer elves here at Google have also been hard at work getting the sleigh tracking algorithm ready for prime time. They’ve been adding finishing touches to the Santa tracker app for android. So Santas just a tap away on phones, tablets, and TVs. The developer elves have been busy, so check out the chrome extension and keep a watch out for Santa surprises throughout the month.”


google santa track


NORAD has also had a revamp, this years site – built as part of the Internet Explorer campaign to ‘Rethink what the web can be’ – features a brand new set of games, improved performance, and an optimised mobile experience, in addition to the ability to track Santa with the help of Bing Maps. The website was also built using responsive design: “this years NORAD Tracks Santa website has been updated to allow Santa Trackers to follow the big man around the globe on their mobile device. The website was built using responsive design – meaning users will get an optimised experience whether they are using PC, tablet, or mobile phone. Because the site was built using modern web standards, like WebGL, it will work across any modern browser, such as Internet Explorer 11.”




You will be able to view Santa in an interactive 3D globe and as Santa stops off at all the different destinations on Christmas Eve, Bing will also offer a ‘specially-curated’ results pages with fun facts and images for each location.




Apple deleted rivals music

In a court case this week, Apple have been accused of deleting music not bought from iTunes from users iPods. Lawyers representing electronics retailers and consumers, claim that Apple used their iTunes dominance to force users to purchase iPods instead of rival devices. Apple’s security director Augustin Farrugia stated that: “the company’s attempt to keep iPods clear of any non-iTunes music was done to protect consumers from hackers and malicious content.” The case has been going on for over a decade and if Apple are found guilty it could see them paying out over $1bn in damages.

Google launches new reCAPTCHA

This week, Google has announced that they will be replacing the annoying reCAPTCHA test with a simple I am not a robot tickbox. Captcha, standing for Completely Automated Public Turing test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart, is designed to prevent automated spamming of sites, by asking humans to type in distorted words or phrases.


According to the Google reCAPTCHA page: “figured it would be easier to just directly ask our users whether or not they are robots – so, we did! We’ve begun rolling out a new API that radically simplifies the reCAPTCHA experience. Were calling it the ‘No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA’ and this is how it looks’


On websites using this new API, a significant number of users will be able to securely and easily verify they’re human without actually having to solve a CAPTCHA. Instead, with just a single click, they’ll confirm they are not a robot.

And Finally…

Google are in the news again this week after they announced that they will be revamping their popular services and products including YouTube and Chrome to help make the internet easier to use for children under 12 and to help make it more fun and safe. Research from Ofcom found that “one in ten children aged between three and four have their own tablet.”