03 February 2024

Today in Enshittification*

Hqve you noticed that Google search has been absolute pants for the past few years?

In fact, Google EVERYTHING has been absolute pants the past few years. It's one of the reasons that I never update Google software on my Android phone, the "Updates" are invariably more bloated, slower, buggier, and greater privacy nightmares.

It's almost like Google wants to see how awful that they can become before they start suffering?  It's beginning to look like that bet that was the plot turn in the movie Trading Places.

Well, in the latest case of Google's race to the bottom, Google is killing its cached web pages feature, which as proven essential for things like avoiding international blocking attempts, historical research, etc.

Seriously, this is stupid and self-destructive:

Google will no longer be keeping a backup of the entire Internet. Google Search's "cached" links have long been an alternative way to load a website that was down or had changed, but now the company is killing them off. Google "Search Liaison" Danny Sullivan confirmed the feature removal in an X post, saying the feature "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 retire it."

The feature has been appearing and disappearing for some people since December, and currently, we don't see any cache links in Google Search. For now, you can still build your own cache links even without the button, just by going to "https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:" plus a website URL, or by typing "cache:" plus a URL into Google Search. For now, the cached version of Ars Technica seems to still work. All of Google's support pages about cached sites have been taken down.

Cached links used to live under the drop-down menu next to every search result on Google's page. As the Google web crawler scoured the Internet for new and updated webpages, it would also save a copy of whatever it was seeing. That quickly led to Google having a backup of basically the entire Internet, using what was probably an uncountable number of petabytes of data. Google is in the era of cost savings now, so assuming Google can just start deleting cache data, it can probably free up a lot of resources.

Google is only storing the text from these cached sites, so the overhead is pretty minimal, but they gotta hit those quarterly number, so f%$# the users.

Google has jumped the f%$#ing shark big time over the past decade.

 *Yes, I know that I reserve the month of January for swear words, but given that "Enshittification" has been widely adopted, and was the selected as 2023 word of the year by the American Dialectl Society, it, and its various conjugations, will be used all year around.


Anonymous said...

And don't forget Schitt's Creek.

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