Today, Google unveiled their new real-time search feature. It's still very new, even in internet terms, but what we see in the video below as well as in our own field tests is that results populate starting from when the search results page loads (so to take advantage of the new opportunity for visibility, it's a "right place at the right time" kind of thing). Most of these results are tweets or recently crawled articles/blogs on the topic. Our tests have shown tweets to show up with about a 10-20 second delay from when they were originally published. Not bad.
So how can SEO's use this to their advantage? In a white hat world, you would say, "it forces people to keep generating content and conversation around the topic they want to show for in Google search results." In a black hat world, one might contrive methods for abusing the new feature using automated tweeting applications. For example, you could schedule keyphrase stuffed tweets to post relentlessly to guarantee almost constant visibility. I'd bet good money Google's algorithm has parameters in place to weed out this kind of spamming, so I'm optimistic it won't be that much of a problem.
When used correctly, I have no doubt something like real-time search will reward those who are active on social platforms and especially those who post content regularly. Wait, did I just say Google will reward those who post fresh content frequently? This sounds so familiar.
Bing, I believe it's your move now.