Touchdown confirmed. Sunday night's Mars landing transmitted over Internet TV reaffirmed the future of television and how Web search will integrate into streaming live broadcasts. It all came down to Curiosity, the most advanced spacecraft sent to another planet, which at just after 10:31 California time sent home to Earth several thumbnail photos of itself on Mars to dozens of scientists waiting for word from the rover at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the NASA mission.
Streaming the mission -- which should last for one Martian year, or 687 Earth days -- relied on making sure NASA's Web site could handle the Internet traffic. For the most part the Internet stream, which SOASTA tested and supported in the cloud, went smoothly. I watched the event on Sony's Google Internet TV and had about two buffering moments within an hour.
Search via Chrome, Internet Explorer or Firefox will need to improve, as more dedicated channels emerge to bring historical, enlightening and entertaining events not only into the living room, but also on mobile devices. I began watching the live stream from my iPhone, but transitioned to the Google TV connection when arriving home.
In February 2012, Nielsen estimates that about 10.4% -- up from 4.7% in the year-ago month -- of American homes had Internet TV, allowing viewers a direct connection to online video in their living room from the Web. Of those households, the research firm estimates Internet TV contributed to about 5% of use in February 2012, up from 2% in October 2011.
It would have been a lot easier to find the Web site on Google TV by speaking my request, "Mars live streaming NASA broadcast," into a TV search engine. What's in it for search marketers and local businesses? I'm connecting the dots with an experience during the weekend at the Orange County Fair.
The photography exhibit at the Orange County Fair featured natural locations, such as national parks. So I pulled out my iPhone, brought up Google voice search, and said "Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park," which enabled me to get a personal tour of the actual location while viewing the photograph. It would have helped to see a list of nearby hotels and restaurants via Google Places in case the photography inspired me to the point of booking a reservation to travel.
What does voice search at the Orange County Fair have to do with the Mars landing? It paves the way for the next step in search engine services and marketing techniques. Think that's too farfetched? The Mars landing paves the way for the next step in space exploration through soil samples, and perhaps colonization.