A new way to search Information – Pivot from Live Labs


When we use the Web today we treat the most fundamental scenarios as separate activities. Search takes us from many things to one, browsing moves us from one thing to another, and recommendations expose affinities that enable us to explore related topics.  How about getting a more unified User Experience by combining this scenarious? – Pivot broadly apply this philosophy to the Web and focuses on this concept of Internet Search.

Pivot is a new way to browse and arrange massive amounts of images and data online. Built on breakthrough Seadragon technology, it enables spectacular zooms in and out of web databases, and the discovery of patterns and links invisible in standard web browsing!

Recommended System Configuration: Windows 7 with Aero enabled, 2-GHz 32-bit (x86) processor, 2 gigabytes of random access memory.

Pivot requires .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 and Internet Explorer 8. Pivot will import your browsing history from Internet Explorer and Firefox during installation.

When you launch the Pivot after installation, it will give you a set of the collections which the Microsoft Team has already created. (See image below)

Collections on the Pivot

The core concept of Pivot are “Collections”. They combine large groups of similar items on the Internet, so we can begin viewing the relationships between individual pieces of information in a new way. By visualizing hidden patterns, Pivot enables users to discover new insights while interacting with thousands of things at once.

Developers can find more information on Pivot Collections here

Now, Lemme show a couple of demo’s here. In the first one, I will do a Search on the Wikipedia Collection on Pivot., I search for A R Rahman. (Do I need to say.. who Rahman is..?)

Search Wikipedia using Pivot - A R Rahman

Once you hit the Search button, Pivot will browse you through massive amounts of data online and provide you categories to choose and filter. As I know that, A R Rahman excels in music, I will select the Music category and view his information in the right side. You can also open the click (which appears in the right pane) and view this page inside the Pivot. (You cannot call Pivot a Web browser, but will eventually give you a feel of it and you can browse all webpages inside the Pivot)

Rahman information on Pivot

This is how you can get information without even leaving a browser or going back and forward. In the second scenario, I will select the Leaders Collection which is available in the Pivot Home page.  The moment I click it, It lands in this below dialog, which breaks down the Global Leaders based upon their ages. You have an option to Sort upon their age, party, Gender etc..

Global Leaders - Pivot

When you click on an image, You will experience DeepZoom of images and information, and you can click on the leader whom you are looking for. The information of that particular person does appear in the right side pane. As said before, you can continue to surf through the information (by pressing on the red color ‘Open’ button on the image) in the Pivot Collection or launch the webpage inside the Pivot window itself.

 Queen Elizabeth II - Pivot

With Pivot, you have a zoomable technology for all webpages like shown in the below screenshot, so you can just step back and zoom in and get to the appropriate section you want.

Zooming into a browser with Pivot

By viewing the webpages this way on Pivot, you can now have the similar kind of Data collections for all your history webpages, which is sorted by date (default). This helps you to drill into what you have actually browsed through in the past and retrieve the information, when you have face a similar need!

Browsing History - Pivot

You can also fetch information on at what time did your browse a webpage!

Browsing History with Time frames - Pivot

Pivot from Microsoft Live Labs, changes the way how data can be used. The information on the pivot is now not only condensed to a single page..but indeed its with a higher level of abstraction. Instead of navigating from one thing to another, we can now move from many things to many! You can drill down to what you need. – Simple Slice and dice Concept. Do try out this amazing experiment Today!

You can download the Pivot Software here (.msi file format)

Check out this MIX2010 presentation on how to build a Collection – http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/FTL02

You can also see this demo in this below TED video, where Gary Flake (Technical Fellow at Microsoft) demos’ this soooper cool tool ‘Pivot’ – a new way to browse and arrange massive amounts of images and data online!