Probably the most shocking statement that came from a Googler at SMX East was what Gary Illyes said about authorship. He said last night that webmasters should not remove the authorship markup from their sites, that you never know if the team will want to use it again.
That blew me away. :)
In August of last year, Google completely decommissioned authorship. Back then, John Mueller said it wasn't just a visual change, the one they did in June 2014, but they stopped processing the data completely. John said then, "we're no longer processing this data -- it's not just a UI change."
In fact, it was so dead that John Mueller mocked webmasters by using rel agent in place of the rel=author markup.
If I had to guess what Gary was implying, is that Google does use a form of authorship for indepth articles. That is my guess. I did ask Google through official channels for a comment on this.
Forum discussion at Twitter.