Yesterday, Google announced that it would stop showing authorship information in the search results. This news may be a bit of a surprise for those who did the work to implement authorship over the years. But it turns out, this particular tool from Google simply hasn’t proven very helpful.
“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,” wrote John Mueller, Google web trends analyst, in the announcement. He added that authorship doesn’t have an impact on traffic either way, “nor does it increase clicks on ads.”
While some might be surprised, Google was already making the transition away from authorship. In June, author photos were removed from the search results, with Mueller saying the goal was to unify the user experience on mobile and desktop, according to Search Engine Land.
It may be too soon to draw conclusions about what this move means for the future of Google+, but this looks more like Google is shifting further from its former stance on real and verified identities. Authorship was an experiment with influence that Google search users didn’t find useful. In fact, some users found it distracting, according to Mueller.
Bottom line, says TechCrunch contributor Frederic Lardinois, “When it comes to its search results page, Google just looks at what works and what doesn’t,” and this is a case of the feature simply not working.