Google Officially Bids Farewell to Cached Webpages (2024)

Google Officially Bids Farewell to Cached Webpages

Google Search is bidding farewell to the long-standing feature of cached webpages, as confirmed by Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison. The “cached” links, a go-to alternative for accessing websites that were down or had changed, are now officially retired. This change, announced in a post on X, is attributed to advancements in page loading reliability, making the feature obsolete.

The disappearance of cached links has been observed intermittently since December, with no current visibility of cache links in Google Search. Despite the removal of the dedicated button, users can still create their own cache links by visiting “https://webcache.googleusercontent.com” followed by a website URL, or by typing “cache:” plus a URL into Google Search. Notably, the cached version of Ars Technica appears to still function, though all of Google’s support pages related to cached sites have been taken down.

Previously residing under the drop-down menu next to search results, cached links allowed users to view older versions of webpages captured by Google’s web crawler. This practice resulted in Google accumulating a vast backup of the internet, prompting the decision to retire the feature for resource-saving purposes.

Cached links not only served as a valuable resource during website downtime or changes but also provided insights into the perspective of Google Bot, the web crawler, as it traversed the web. Over the years, the rendering of pages in cached versions evolved, revealing details about media, rich data like JavaScript, and the intricacies of Google Bot’s operation. Despite the end of cached links, webmasters can still explore their own site’s representation through the Search Console.

The absence of cached sites in Google Search means that the Internet Archive will bear a larger responsibility for archiving and tracking changes on the world’s web pages. Danny Sullivan expressed a sense of nostalgia for the retired feature, acknowledging its historical significance as one of Google’s oldest features. However, the decision reflects the improved reliability of webpage loading, rendering the cached feature obsolete in the current digital landscape.

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