Social search in its current state— that is, the little profile pics of your friends that turn up seemingly randomly in Google search results— is pretty much a crapshoot. Nobody, and by "nobody" we mean "Google," has yet figured out how to integrate all the information pinging around your social networks with the broader info available on the Web in a meaningful manner. An overhauled new version of Bing, which Microsoft announced today, seeks to solve this problem once and for all.
The new Bing pulls social content related to your query and moves it over to a new, ever-present, right-hand panel. The search results you would normally expect remain untouched on the left-hand side. In the middle, there's another new panel that contains actionable intelligence on whichever search result you're hovering over on the left. For instance, if you're looking at a link to a specific hotel, you could get information on available rates simply by hovering over it.
In an interview with AllThingsD, Bing search director Stefan Weitz described the three panels from left to right as "What The Web Knows, What Bing Knows and What Your Friends Know."
From the new social panel, Bing will recommend Facebook friends who may have information on what you're looking for. From there, you can either ask them directly, or post a general query to Facebook, Google+ or Quora.
The new Bing isn't available to everyone just yet, but you can sign up to be notified when it is. See a preview of it in action in the video above.