By entering a search phrase like [whois google.com] you can quickly see when the domain’s WHOIS record was created and when the domain will expire above the search results. (Somewhat ironically, it doesn’t actually tell you to whom the domain belongs though.)
Google implies it’s getting this information from the Domain Tools website, which is linked to from the OneBox result title too. However, it seems the data being displayed is not coming live from the WHOIS record, so Google must be caching the information somewhere.
It has been suggested in the past that Google may use this WHOIS data as part of its ranking algorithms, possibly giving weight to those domains which are registered for longer periods.
[Hat tip to Matt Cutts!]
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