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Now Google’s Americanising our dates

December 6, 2010 2 Comments

There was uproar - uproar, I tell you - at the start of the year when it was revealed that Google was favoring, er favouring, American spellings. Now they are trying to make us adopt American date formats. Make us I tell you.

Americans use a preposterous mm/dd/yy format (going from the month to something more specific (the date) and then back to something less specific (the year)). In Britain, we use dd/mm/yy.

Use a date as part of a search at Google, and it tries to be helpful. So if you search for, say, 11 November 2010, it'll include results  with 11/11/2010 in them.

But as these examples show, if you search for something like 5 September, it returns pages with 09/05 in them (the US format for 5 September, which is actually the 9th May here in the UK), and not those with 05/09 in them (the UK format for 5th September).

Here's a search for the phrase "Scrum V 2010/2011 9 May 2010". Google makes bold any words in its results that are part of your search phrase. You can see the first result is a program with 05/09 in bold - but 05/09 is 9th May only in the USA. In the UK it's the 5th September, which is when that program was actually broadcast.

Google search for 9 May 2010

Google search for 9 May 2010

Here's the issue in reverse. The search is for "World Service Programmes - The Forum, 5 September 2010". The words in bold are "World Service Programmes - The Forum, 09/05/2010". But 09/05 is the 5th September only in the US. In the UK, it's the 9th May.

Google search for 5 September 2010

Google search for 5 September 2010

Even worse, the bottom result has 5 Sep 2010 in bold in the meta description - but 05/09/2010 in the title is not in bold as Google thinks that means the 9th May.

Fix, please.

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