The other day, when trying to look up a restaurant recommendation for a friend, I went to Pazzo’s website since I had a great meal here once when celebrating Liz Swenton’s birthday. When my browser loaded, I noticed a box at the top of my screen that said, “This is Google’s cache of http://www.pazzoboston.com/. It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on Jan 6, 2010 06:03:16 GMT. The current page could have changed in the meantime.”
Huh? Where is my beloved Pazzo?
It turns out, Google takes a snapshot of each page it examines as it surfs the web and caches these as a back-up in case the original page is unavailable. If you click the “cached” link, you will see the web page as it looked when Google indexed it – in this case, Pazzo’s site was cached way back in early January 2010.
While such cached pages are not necessarily the most recent version of the site, they are useful in cases where there’s Internet congestion; a down, overloaded, or just slow website; or the owner’s recently removing the page from the Web.
Google also notes that the “cached” link will be missing for sites that have not been indexed, as well as for sites whose owners have requested we not cache their content; however, since Google’s servers are typically faster than many web servers, users can often access a page’s cached version faster than the page itself.
What do you think? Are cached pages still just as useful or are users missing out on updated information?