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December 19, 2011

Santa Uses Siri, Accepts Messages Via Gmail, Google Voice

Even in the age of ubiquitous personal computers, when you can find almost any answer on the Internet, some holiday secrets still hold sway over children (and even some adults who like to recall their childhood). Google has once again decided to add to the holiday fun surrounding the story of the bearded gift giver by letting you interact with Santa Claus, this time with a special twist.

A new ad (below) from Apple, meanwhile, suggests that the man in red is using Siri this year to help make deliveries.

Fans of Google Voice will remember last year when Google gave Santa his own phone number. This year you can call Santa's Google Voice number (855-34-SANTA) directly from your Gmail account and leave a message. And if you want to send a child or friend a message from Santa, you can visit Send A Call From Santa. The Google-run site takes you through a simple step-by-step process that allows you to send a phone message from "Santa" that is not only customized by gender and name, but also lets you add little touches that speak to the recipient's particular style.

For instance, if your friend is a yoga practicing, sushi lover, there are audio customizations for that, and if your friend is a rap music fan with a taste for expensive car rims and "gangsta" slang, Santa will also accommodate that approach. Once you start playing around with the different options, it's actually quite fun. Of course there are also plenty of options to tailor the audio as a kid-friendly message for children, sans any hipster irony. There are also options for those who don't celebrate Christmas, including Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and various other non-specific holiday greetings.