Malte Landwehr commented on an earlier post on the changes in Google snippets for blog posts. He noted that the Google snippet dates on his blog posts appeared in a German format and therefore required more characters than the English version. He surmised that this meant that less of the Description meta tag could be used in creating the snippet.
As far as we can tell this does not seem to be the case. Below are shown the starting text in the SERP snippets for the same blog post in four different language versions of Google. In each case the date is shown in the language of the searcher. In each case also, the snippet used the same 138 characters from the Description meta tag.
Google – English – http://www.google.com
Google – French – http://www.google.fr/
Google – Finnish – http://www.google.com/ig?hl=fi
Google – Saudi Arabia – http://www.google.com/ig?hl=ar
Danny Sullivan has questioned in Sphinn whether this is a real phenomenon. However it seems to be the case for blog posts that appear in more popular searches. The posts on the same blog that preceded and followed this post, which are less popular, still currently come up in SERPs without dates. Whether this dating becomes the general rule or disappears at some time can only be a matter of conjecture at the moment.
If you have any views on what is happening here, then please add your comments.