The rel=author experiment is over.
Google ran the rel=author system for over 3 years and paid close attention to how the new feature has impacted, or in this case ‘not impacted’, search results.
For competitive websites there’s no doubt that having a respectable looking head-shot added to your search results was a perk.
Google’s own statistics showed that the rel=author feature was not improving search as planned, plus there was a lot of spamming going on behind the scenes.
By further supporting Schema.org markup Google also made the rel=author markup somewhat redundant since competing search engines use Schema.org and have not publicly adopted the rel=author method.
So if you are/were a Bing loyalist you probably already have your content marked up correctly for most search engines, but for the rest of us this will mean some changes to website code.
In a nutshell where you used to have:
Posted by <a href="plus.google.com/u/0/+Caorda?rel=author">Caorda</a>
You would now use Schema.org markup for a person to give the same author data to search engines and other web indexing services.
We did a post back in the middle of July titled “Microformats-and-Schema” that talked about the options for micro formats. It didn’t get very technical however and looking at the recent changes to authorship markup I expect to publish a more in-depth discussion on formatting pages/content with Schema.org.
Stay tuned for more!