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Google Officially Retires Page Cache Links from Search Results

Google has officially removed links to page caches from its search results page, as confirmed by Danny Sullivan, Google's search liaison. The cache feature, which allowed users to view a webpage as Google sees it, has been retired. Sullivan mentioned that the cache feature was initially designed to help people access pages when loading was a challenge, but with significant improvements over time, it was decided to retire the feature.

Historically, the cache feature was useful for various purposes, such as helping SEO professionals debug their sites, enabling reporters to track changes on websites, and serving as an alternative to a VPN for accessing blocked content in certain regions. However, Google has gradually removed the cache links over the past couple of months.

The removal applies to both the "Cached" button that appeared in the "About this result" panel and the "cache:" search operator. While there are no immediate plans to replace the feature, Sullivan suggested that Google might consider adding links to the Internet Archive to show how a webpage has changed over time. However, he emphasized that this is not a promise and involves discussions with the Internet Archive.

The cached view was a valuable tool for many users, allowing them to see the content of a webpage even if the site was slow to load or blocked in their region. SEO professionals often used the feature for debugging and monitoring changes in websites, while journalists relied on it for news gathering and verifying information.

The removal of Google's cache links has been taking place gradually over the past couple of months and isn't complete yet. The "Cached" links were disappearing intermittently from search results in early December, and by the end of January, they were removed entirely. In addition to removing the links, the "cache:" search operator will also be going away "in the near future," according to Sullivan.

While Sullivan didn't provide an immediate replacement for the cache feature, he expressed hope that Google could add links to the Internet Archive. This, however, depends on discussions with the Internet Archive and involves people beyond his control. He mentioned that it would be a nice addition, but there are no promises regarding its implementation.

The removal of the cache links marks the end of an era for a feature that has been part of Google's search results for a long time. Users accustomed to accessing cached versions of webpages will now need to explore alternative methods or tools for viewing web content as Google sees it. The decision to retire the feature aligns with Google's approach to phase out legacy features and focus on more current and relevant offerings.

Google has officially removed links to page caches from its search results page
Google has officially removed links to page caches from its search results page

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