There has been a recent flux of posts at Search Engine Watch Forums on where Google is getting the title and description content from in the search results pages. In classic form, Danny Sullivan is a little annoyed that there is so much confusion, do to the fact, that there is no standard. At the end of a thread, Danny posts a summary of the issue. Basically, sometimes Google will use the ODP listing (see my entry named Google Showing Dynamic Titles) and Yahoo! uses the Yahoo! Directory title when available (see my entry Titles that Differ in Google and Yahoo).
Danny started a thread named Proposed Search Engine Standard For Titles & Descriptions with a poll asking, "How Should Titles & Descriptions Be Formed?"
Danny believes that its best for search engines to use the following rules:
1) Always use the page's actual title 2) If the page has provided a meta description tag, NEVER go beyond the page to create a description 3) Consider the meta description tag strongly as the description to be returned, especially if the search terms for the query appear within it 4) If the meta description tag seems inadequate, then form a description by taking text from anywhere on the page. 5) If NO meta description tag was provided, and you don't feel the page has enough content to form a description, then you can go to a secondary source to create a description.
Join the thread to voice your opinion.
Danny also wrote a blog entry on this topic named Time For Search Standards For Titles & Description?