Google again this year enabled kids of all ages to use its Santa Tracker website and app to follow St. Nick and his elves as they deliver presents around the world. Google offers Santa Tracker as a holiday gift to its users, but the company also uses the software to test other development tools. For example, the Santa Tracker team developed the mobile app with the latest version of Android Studio, a developer environment for the Android platform.
Google's Andres Ferrate describes Santa Tracker as "an opportunity for us to use our own development products that we give to third parties and along the way we learn about the development experience." The team also tested the new Watch Face application programming interface, which powers the new watch faces for Android Wear.
This year, the Santa Tracker offered a count-down-to-Christmas clock along with a new game every day until Christmas. The most popular feature is the dashboard powered by Google Maps, which enabled users to track Santa on Christmas Eve. "The experience itself is built almost entirely on the developer products we have," Ferrate says. "It's a natural length to extend that and talk about coding as well."
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