Pivot is a browser from Microsoft Live Labs that isn’t just a web browser in the traditional sense. It is designed to make sifting through large amounts of data easy and visual. It works with a number of collections that is regularly increasing. Currently, you could analyze Olympic Medalists, Sports Illustrated Covers, Magic: The Gathering cards, NFL and NBA Athletes, and many more data sets. The information you can glean by looking at the databases in new ways is only limited to what you’re looking for.
Pivot requires .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 and Internet Explorer 8 and will import your browsing history from Internet Explorer and Firefox during the installation. Pivot comes in the form of a 27.8 MB download and requires Silverlight, utilizing Seadragon for image processing. Windows XP is not supported nor is Windows Server 2008 but once you find a computer that works, you can have quite a bit of fun analyzing the different collections. *cough*Nerd!*cough*
For example, you can look at this example of sorting different concept cars. You can zoom in and out on the collection and filter the results down by manufacturer, body style, production year, engine displacement and type, transmission, aspiration, and fuel attributes.
If we want to look at Chrysler concept cars since 1989, we can. Then we can select an item and find out more information about it.
We can do the same with NFL athletes. Let’s find NFL players who had over 4 sacks in the 2009 season that weigh over 281 pounds. That takes us down to four guys.
You can also browse Wikipedia and understand its categorization of topics.
A recently added collection comes from Netflix. You can narrow down their Instant Streaming movies by rating, genre, MPAA rating, Year, and Cast to get unique views of the data. You can access this collection in Pivot at http://netflixpivot.cloudapp.net/
If you’d like to see Pivot in action or learn more, I recommend watching this TED video that shows off Pivot.
You can also learn more and download Pivot from http://www.getpivot.com/.