Google search cache feature retires
In the early days of the Internet, websites struggled to load quickly and correctly. That is why Google Search introduced cached links, saved versions of a page Google previously indexed. However, Google Public Liaison Danny Sullivan announced that the company retired this old faithful feature because webpages have improved significantly.
On one hand, Sullivan and the search engine firm are right; webpages are better than those from decades ago. They adapt to various types of gadgets and resolution sizes and automatically update to improving technologies. However, cached links served more purposes than many would miss.
Why was the Google search cache important?
A previous Inquirer Tech article defines cache as a “bank that provides temporary storage for data to aid a faster loading rate of websites, browsers, and apps.” In other words, it saves a previous version of a webpage so that your gadgets can load them faster.
Previously, it was an essential feature for those with poor Internet connectivity and outdated web pages. It enabled viewers to open a website even if the current version had problems.
“It was meant for helping people access pages when way back, you often couldn’t depend on a page loading,” Sullivan said on X (formerly Twitter).
“These days, things have greatly improved. So, it was decided to retire it,” he also said. Eventually, cached links became more than a backup method.
Engadget says people use it to check a site’s validity. If a suspicious website does not match a cached version, it is probably a phishing platform.
Search engine optimization (SEO) experts referred to the Google search cache to spot errors in their websites. Also, news professionals use it to determine if a website updated recently.
It could show whether a website had additional or removed information. Moreover, cached links helped people view sites geo-blocked in their regions.
Search Engine Land says cached links may still be viewed via the cache operator at the time of writing. For example, one can search “https://www.google.com/search?q=cache:inquirer.net” to view the Inquirer’s cached link.
Soon, it may cease to function due to the Google search cache’s retirement. Google hasn’t shared a replacement for this feature. Also, Sullivan said on The Verge that he hopes Google would add links to the Internet Archive.
How will Google search improve?
Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced he will add AI capabilities to the search engine following the rise of ChatGPT and generative artificial intelligence. If you’re in the US, you can try them in Search Labs with these steps from my other article:
- Visit the Google Search Labs homepage, labs.google.com/search.
- Afterward, click the Sign-In option.
- Log on by entering your Gmail address and password.
- The website will redirect you to another page. Then, click its Join Waitlist button.
- Afterward, wait for the confirmation email.
- Once you have it, click its link to use the new Search AI features.
Try it in the Philippines and outside the United States, and you’ll likely see the error message, “Search Labs isn’t available for your account right now.”
If you can open Search Labs, the first upgrade you’ll notice is the more streamlined design. The internal documents revealed Google wants to shift away from its classic “ten blue links.”
The tech firm aims to provide a more “visual, snackable, personal, and human” layout that appeals to younger users. Also, Google wants you to have conversations with its search engine.
The digital giant did not specify how to achieve these goals but has two options. First, Google AI could mean integrating Bard with the old search program. Bard is Google’s proprietary AI chatbot.
Second, Google might launch its other AI program, codenamed Project Magi. It said the tool would be a “far more personalized experience” than its current service.
It would adapt to a user’s needs to recommend relevant information. For example, Magi will allow users to book flights and complete transactions.
Learn more about these AI capabilities from my other AI report.