Real time is the next step for Google: They're working on a standard for website publishers to hit Google with new content for indexing in seconds, a huge leap from the way Google currently crawls the web.
One way it might work is through a setup like PubSubHubbub, where a site tells a Hub there's new content, and the Hub tells subscribers when there's new content, versus having to ping the site repeatedly to check for new stuff. Google would just subscribe to feeds for sites, essentially. Beyond fundamentally adding a new dimension to Google's index, it'd help small sites, which are normally crawled far less frequently by Google than larger sites, since they could simply tell Google when they've got new stuff. The future is now, like now. [ReadWriteWeb]