[Mano Marks is away for the holidays, so this week Paul Saxman shares the highlights of the week in this Fab Friday post.]

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On Tuesday, a team of Google engineers launched the Google Santa Tracker site along with a Chrome extension and an Android app. You can visit the site now to play Santa approved games and hunt for some other fun experiences, but be sure to check out the site and Android app on Christmas Eve to track Santa with Google Maps and Google Earth.

The Google Santa Tracker site is pure HTML5 and uses the Google Maps JavaScript API.  The Android app uses the recently released Google Maps Android API v2, so be sure to try out Santa tracking in vector-based 3D!

Late last week, I joined Ankur Kotwal and Tony Chan on their ADL+ show to discuss how to get started with the Google Maps Android API v2.  We covered the basics of how to get a Google Maps API key, configuring an app’s manifest, controlling the map camera, and using markers and info windows.  The slides for the show, which include plenty of code snippets, were posted separately.

If you’re craving even more code, support for the Google Maps Android API v2 was recently added to the the open source My Tracks app for Android.  My Tracks uses many of the key features of the API, including markers, camera events, and polylines.  If you’re interested in the new API, the MyTracksMapFragment class is a great place to start browsing the code.

Also in the news, Red de Juderías de España has built a website for exploring more than 500 Jewish heritage landmarks in Spain.  The interactive map on the site uses the Google Maps JS API and includes custom map styling, overlays, and Street View panoramas.  The site is a great inspiration to learn more about Spain’s Jewish history, and for building websites with beautiful interactive maps.

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Posted by Paul Saxman, Google Maps Developer Advocate and Adjunct Santa Helper