birds 300x250 The coolest Microsoft Twitter app youve never heard of, and its free!With an R&D budget in the billions, you would expect Microsoft to have some very neat side-projects. The good news is that your hunch is completely correct, Microsoft does have some very interesting experiments for you to play with.

This morning we are going to be focusing on a new favorite of mine: The Archivist. The Archivist (for this article, just ‘Archivist’) is a very interesting way to track and monitor Twitter searches. While that is not a particularly unique idea per se, the implementation of the idea is what sells it; Archivist is drop dead sexy.

As everyone does, my first search was for my Twitter username, take a look at what Archivist made for me:

arch 1 The coolest Microsoft Twitter app youve never heard of, and its free!

Of course, each one of those sections is clickable, so that you can drill down into the data that it provides. Here are my ‘Source’ and ‘Top Words’ pages:

arch 2 The coolest Microsoft Twitter app youve never heard of, and its free!

arch 3 The coolest Microsoft Twitter app youve never heard of, and its free!

Sadly most of this data is from the weekend, so it is not as interesting as it might be, but you can get a gist of what Archivist can do in the above pictures.

So what can you use Archivist for? I use it for personal reasons, it’s a very fun way to stare at your own navel with pretty graphics to boot. It provides an interesting look into what you actually talk about, what clients your followers use, how popular your tweets are for retweeting, and so forth. You can also set archives to ‘public’ and share them with others if you wish to highlight certain sections of the provided data for whatever purpose.

For the whole history of Twitter, users have been looking for more and more raw data to synthesize as it makes their accounts simpler to understand. Archivist fills that niche very well for everyone but the most hardcore Twitter user. Oh, and of course, Archivist is very strong at spying on your friends. Want to see how many @s they get? Just stick their name in the search bar and hit go.

What does the application not do that we wish that it did? We wish that it would load and archive more than 500 tweets. If you have a high-volume account, that limitation can be rather annoying. Also, as you might expect given the total tweet limitation, you cannot go back in time.

Archivist shows you a snapshot of your Twitter account, not a lifetime history. Still, it does it with more eye candy than we have yet seen.

If you like Archivist and want to get more data on your Twitter account, be sure and check out TNW’s TwitterCounter or Untitled Startup’s Rowfeeder.