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Google has certainly put some work into grabbing (and displaying) useful data from page contents recently, and this strikes me as similar to Google Displaying Dates before Snippets [webmasterworld.com].
But when I made the search a little more specific, the information did show up...
site:webmasterworld.com google keyword tool [google.com]
The year apparently isn't returned for threads from the current year. I also notice where I am (in California) that the data doesn't yet appear for every post. I'm sure there will be some bugs that needing shaking out, but this is an auspicious start.
Again, I'm wondering whether this is a preface to sorting results by date or by relevance, as is currently possible in news results.
[edited by: Receptional_Andy at 5:04 pm (utc) on Oct. 12, 2008]
[edit reason] No specific sites, please [/edit]
[edited by: Malibucreek at 12:37 am (utc) on Oct. 17, 2008]
Last post: Oct. 17, 2008 [google.com]
But the post date referred to in their date stamp is the 17th, and the post was actually dated Oct. 16, 2008. Now, the post prior to this one is Nov. 7, 2008 so let's see what date they'll show for that one.
My guess is that it'll be the 8th (or the 9th). If so, wouldn't that mean the date reflects what day they indexed the thread and last post?
In one search query I keep an I eye on, Google had Jan 2008 displayed as the last post for a particular journal thread. That was about 2 weeks ago. It is now saying last post: June 2004 (with only 2 posts). This thread contains around 30 posts up to August of this year.
So far I have seen the results on vbulletin, phpbb, punbb, wordpress and even here which is completely proprietary, so I wonder how they are doing it, unless they decided to teach the bot that parses the info this site specifically.
If Google's set things up this way intentionally, I think they've made a mistake in judgement. Seems to me that when someone's doing a site search of a large forum, that's a place where date and thread information is most likely to be useful to the searcher.
Marcia. The date is keyed to UTC, so for any time mid-to-late evening in the US, it is already "tomorrow" in terms of UTC. That probably explains your "one day" date discrepancy.