Norad Chooses Bing to Track Santa's Sleigh: Hot Trends

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Popular searches on the Internet include Norad as the U.S. military command center has partnered with Microsoft's ( MSFT) Bing to track Santa's sleigh this year.

Since 2004, Norad has been offering its Santa tracker service online using Google ( GOOG) Earth and Google Maps. But now, a Norad spokesperson said the two companies have gone their separate ways, and Bing is now providing the mapping software being used in the tracker.

As for Google, the company will still be following Santa's sleigh this Christmas Eve.

"This year a team of dedicated Google Maps engineers built a new route algorithm to chart Santa's journey around the world on Christmas Eve," said Google Maps executive Brian McClendon.

Both Web sites offer smartphone apps where Santa's sleigh can be tracked as well. Norad's service is available for Apple iOS and Windows 8, while Google's is only available for Android.

According to Norad, Santa usually begins at 0900 GMT at the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean on Christmas Eve, and travels west. Norad has been tracking Santa since 1955, when a Colorado Springs store ran an advertisement for a special telephone line to call Santa that accidentally included the phone number for the director of operations at Continental Air Defense Command. Conad, which later became Norad, obliged and offered children updates on Santa's position -- and has each year ever since.

Apple ( AAPL) is trending after inside sources at a Japanese blog claim that Apple is working on a fifth-generation iPad.

Japanese blog Macotakara, which has a reputation for making accurate predictions about Apple products, said the next generation iPad will be thinner and lighter than its predecessors and will feature elements included in the new 7-inch iPad mini. The blog states that the tablet's dimensions are expected to be 4mm x 17mm x 2mm and it is expected to debut in March 2013.

The blog also said that Apple is working on a production trial of the second-generation iPad mini with improved Retina display.

Boeing ( BA) is another popular search. The plane-maker is testing its in-flight Wi-Fi system with none other than potatoes.

The company's researchers reportedly decided to use potatoes because they "interact" with electronic signals in a similar way that the human body does.

Boeing loaded passenger seats on a decommissioned plane with huge sacks of potatoes for several days as the tests were done. Engineers performed tests checking signal strength in order to try to achieve the strongest possible Wi-Fi signal when airborne as possible, while still meeting safety standards that prevent Wi-Fi from interfering with the plane's electrical systems.

Boeing said the potatoes were the perfect stand-in for people who otherwise would have had to sit motionless for days as the tests were done. The company's researchers called the project Synthetic Personnel Using Dialectic Substitution, or SPUDS.

The chatter on Main Street (a.k.a. Google, Yahoo! and other search sites) is always of interest to investors on Wall Street. Thus, each day, TheStreet compiles the stories that are trending on the Web, and highlights the news that could make stocks move.

-- Written by Brittany Umar.
Brittany joined TV in November 2006 after completing a degree in Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers College. Previously, Brittany interned at the local ABC affiliate in New York City WABC-TV 7 where she helped research and produce On Your Side, a popular consumer advocacy segment.