Now one can see the text only version of their Web pages in the Google cache. I think this is brand new, I as well as many others, have never seen google offer this option. Take a look at the Google Cache of one of my pages. You will notice a new line that reads "This cached page may reference images which are no longer available. Click here for the cached text only." If you click on the cached text link, you will go here.
Ok so what does this mean? As Marcia and Danny Sullivan both point out in this thread at Search Engine Watch's Forum, the question of does alternative text now play a role in rankings? Alt text was known, at least for the past few months, to not have any impact on Google's ranking. But in this text only cache version, we see that Google is interpreting the alternative text and displaying it on the screen. As Marcia points out, there can be several problematic areas for an SEO with this new information (please see the thread for that information).
Does Google consider alternative text when ranking a site. Danny Sullivan says no. Danny said: "Now when I do this, site:www.cnn.com "powered by Yahoo!", I get no matches. If any ALT text was being indexed, then the home page would have shown up. But this particular ALT text only appears in a graphic, not a graphical link." There is only occurrences of "powered by Yahoo!" in the alternative text on the pages at CNN. So currently, we do not have to worry about Marcia's questions.
Anyway, how nice is this new text only cache version? :)