Using Google's Rich Snippet Test Tool I couldn't get it to successfully recognize my event data (we have many sermons on our website dating back to 1947).

Finally, I got it to recognize it when using a more recent date, here is some test code that can be copied and pasted into the test tool:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML+RDFa 1.0//EN" "http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/DTD/xhtml-rdfa-1.dtd">
<html xmlns:v="http://rdf.data-vocabulary.org/#" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<div typeof="v:Event">
<span property="v:eventType" content="Sermon">Prediking</span><br />
<p property="v:startDate" content="1957-09-08T00:00:00"><strong>Date</strong><br />08-09-1957</p>
<p><strong>Title</strong><br /><span property="V:summary">MyEvent</span></p>
<p rel="v:location"><strong>Location</strong><br /><span typeof="v:Organization"><span property="v:name">Town Hall</span> <span rel="v:address" typeof="v:Address"><span property="v:locality">Placeville</span>, <span property="v:region">AZ</span> </span></span></p>

Change the year from 1957 to 1970 and it will suddenly recognize it!

The error I'm receiving is a general one:

In order to generate a preview, the start date and summary are required. Additionally, if the webpage contains a list of events, the URL is required. Otherwise, if the webpage is about a single event, the location is required. See the events help page for more information.

Looks like a reverse "milennium" bug of some sort!

  • 1
    Sounds like an epoch thing to me
    – John Conde
    Sep 7, 2013 at 20:32

2 Answers 2


Unix time starts on January 1st, 1970. That time is called the "unix time epoch".

It seems likely that Google is storing the dates as unix time stamps internally and is therefore unable to handle dates before 1970.

  • @Emilio Gort, worked fine? Did you go to this page, click the HTML tab, paste it in and hit the Example button? For me it generates an error and does not show the date in the snippet. Sep 7, 2013 at 22:10
  • I reviewed in Google Custom Search tab... Sep 7, 2013 at 22:16
  • @Emilio Gort, Ah, I didn't notice that tab, indeed it works fine there, only not in the normal "search results of Google" tab. That's strange. Sep 7, 2013 at 22:21
  • @LouisSomers I missed that google does not take care into pre-1970 dates, should not be time unix problem Sep 7, 2013 at 22:25
  • You don’t get an error with 1900.
    – unor
    Sep 8, 2013 at 22:19

As your test code contains some errors, I removed any unneeded data to make it a minimal example:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<head><title>Google Structured Data Testing Tool: date bug?</title></head>

<div vocab="http://rdf.data-vocabulary.org/#" typeof="Event">
  <p property="startDate">1947-09-08</p>
  <p property="summary">Something</p>
  <p property="location">Somewhere</p>


The Google Structured Data Testing Tool can handle "dates before 1970":

Those years don’t give any error:

  • 1600
  • 1700
  • 1900
  • 2000
  • 2002
  • 2300

Those years give an error:

  • 1500
  • 1800
  • 1905
  • 1947
  • 2100
  • 2200

So it doesn’t seem to be related to the start date of the Unix time.

I have no idea what could cause this bug.

  • Thanks, I've reported it to Google now. I fixed the missing closing div tag, any other errors there? My example is similar to how I have it on my site. Sep 9, 2013 at 14:14
  • @LouisSomers: a) The prefix for summary should be v instead of V. b) You used the rel attribute two times, but (I guess) it should only be used if the object is a URL, see the spec: "for expressing relationships between two resources"
    – unor
    Sep 9, 2013 at 14:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.