Wikipedia plans to take its English-language site offline Wednesday (Jan. 18) to protest SOPA and PIPA, anti-piracy laws proposed by members of U.S. Congress that Wikipedia administrators say "would be devastating to the free and open web."
So, throughout the day tomorrow, where will you find answers to all your burning questions?
Fortunately, Google has cached versions of all Wikipedia pages, and those live on even when Wiki goes down. The cached pages won't be live, exactly; they're more like a time capsule of stored information, so you won't be able to edit the content as usual. But for the purpose of looking up, say, the number of fatal bear attacks in North America, these cached pages should work just fine. Here's how to access them:
1) Search for something in Google, asking only for Wikipedia pages. (In addition to your search terms, add this one: "site:en.wikipedia.org" — the notation calls for sites with that phrase in the URL.)
2) When you find the relevant link among the search returns, hover your mouse pointer over the white space just to the right of it. A gray box with two "greater than" symbols will appear, and an image of the corresponding webpage will pop up next to it.
3) Click "Cached" to go to Google's copy of the page rather than the Wikipedia version.
And then, when you're finished reading, contemplate how awesome it is that the Web is "free and open" enough to enable this workaround.