One of Google Search’s oldest and best-known features, cache links, are being retired, Google’s search liaison said in an X post seen by The Verge. Best known by the “Cached” button, those are a snapshot of a web page the last time Google indexed it. However, according to Google, they’re no longer required.
“It was meant for helping people access pages when way back, you often couldn’t depend on a page loading,” Google’s Danny Sullivan wrote in the post. “These days, things have greatly improved. So, it was decided to retire it.
Hey, catching up. Yes, it’s been removed. I know, it’s sad. I’m sad too. It’s one of our oldest features. But it was meant for helping people access pages when way back, you often couldn’t depend on a page loading. These days, things have greatly improved. So, it was decided to…— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) February 1, 2024
Nowadays, however, the feature is used for more than just a web page backup. Many people rely on it to check to validity of a site, and SEO managers can employ the feature to check their pages for errors. Many users, particularly news professionals, use the cache to see if a website has recently been updated, with information added or removed. And sometimes, a cache can let you check a site that’s geoblocked in your region.
Previously, clicking on the three-dot menu next to a result would open an “about this result” dialog with the Cached button at bottom right. Now, however, it opens a much larger menu showing a website’s “about” page, a Wikipedia descrtipoin, privacy settings and more. The cached button is now nowhere to be seen.
None of the comments in Sullivan’s replies were positive, with one SEO user saying “come on, why delete the function? It’s really helpful for all SEO.” Sullivan did say that Google may one day add links to the Internet Archive where the cache link button used to be, within About This Result.
However, that sounds like it’s far from a done deal, and would shift a massive amount of traffic over to the Internet Archive. “No promises. We have to talk to them, see how it all might go — involves people well beyond me. But I think it would be nice all around,” he wrote. This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-search-is-losing-its-cached-web-page-feature-113503903.html?src=rss