Jacques Mattheij

Technology, Coding and Business

hey google, I want my cache links back

Since a day or so the google cache links are gone. They’ve moved into the ‘instant preview’ non-feature. If they’re there at all (and in plenty of cases they seem to be missing).

Now that’s a pretty dumb move. If it isn’t broken please don’t fix it.

For the longest time google made good on their promise to keep their search page simple and easy to use. Now, bit by bit the search page is getting more filled up with cruft that you don’t need and stuff that you do need gets removed.

Maybe it’s time for a ‘classic view’ option without all this ajax goodness?

If you need a cache link and you can’t find it here is how to do it:

  • enter your query

  • float over the right hand side of the result just left of the ads, an arrow will appear

  • click the arrow

  • now look in the top right of the preview area, you’ll see the ‘cached’ link there (if it exists…)

This is really not a user interface improvement, it moves a familiar object to an obscure location where it can only be found after looking for hidden features. It also breaks accessability rules. It was more than bad enough when google decided that you don’t need to be able to cut-and-paste links from results without clicking on them. This makes for instance cutting and pasting a link to a pdf from a search result next to impossible. Then there is the over-zealous spell corrector that more often than not botches a perfectly good query and adds a helpful link that asks me if I knew what I was doing in the first place. (‘did you really mean to search for ‘x’?). My trick of adding ‘+’ before each search term gets a bit tedious, and my + key is wearing out. And now we get this.

For a nice example of marketeer-speak have a look at this google blog post:


I quote:

“today we’re making it even easier to see Instant Previews of your search results”

Wow, even easier? I never wanted them in the first place and now important functionality that has nothing to do with previewing the result gets moved inside the invisible preview pane.

They also don’t communicate very well with their design section, or verify the text of their blog posts to accuracy, the icon I get to the right of the results is not a magnifying glass but a double arrow (like this: >>).

Maybe you think that if you push me hard enough that I’ll start using that preview feature but really I don’t need it. I do need those cached links, more often than not because stuff has been removed from the net or to view pages on sites that are overloaded.

Google, please. The cache links are a major feature and they were placed just right, bring them back to where they were before.