Last night, Google's John Mueller was tasked to announce on his personal Google+ account that Google has dropped support for authorship, completely.
Yes, completely. They simply removed it from their search results interface and from behind the scenes, the algorithms. They do not use authorship at all anymore.
Here is what the authorship looked like in the search results yesterday morning:
And as of this morning:
Unfortunately, we've also observed that this information isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped, and can even distract from those results. With this in mind, we've made the difficult decision to stop showing authorship in search results.
Search users will still see Google+ posts from friends and pages when they’re relevant to the query - both in the main results, and on the right-hand side. Today’s authorship change doesn’t impact these social features.
In the comments, John made it crystal clear saying "we're no longer processing this data -- it's not just a UI change."
John did say that this does not impact publisher markup, they are still using it.
Google also pulled it from the rich snippet testing tool:
This shouldn't come as a surprise because they recently dropped author images from the search results as well.
Some say this is another sign that Google+ is dying, I may agree with that.
What does this mean for the good guy algorithm? I am trying to get concrete information from Google about this but it seems that they are still working on it. As Rae put it on Google+ "remember there were reports of people having authorship assigned to stuff they didn't claim re authorship markup?" Rae added, "they've learned how to connect the dots without our help."
So I suspect Google does not need authorship for connecting who writes what, where. But when I learn more, I'll post it on Search Engine Land and here.
Forum discussion at Google+.
Update: Read the story over at Google Authorship May Be Dead, But Author Rank Is Not.