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Anybody Seeing Author Thumbnails Disappearing All Over Google?

All of mine are missing or do not have the "Add To Circles" link unless it is in SPYW / Social Search. I screen shotted +Robert Scoble here since it is unreliable to judge you author thumbnails when logged in as yourself.

Honestly, Google search is SO highly customized to you or I these days that you can't believe anything you see. So I am asking you +Denis Labelle +Thomas Morffew +Mark Traphagen  +Ronnie Bincer what are you seeing on your end?

Bottom line +Natalie Villalobos and +Toby Stein removing "Add To Circles" in Organic search is a big big mistake. This is why half of my followers and clients got on board Google+.
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43 comments
 
+Mark Traphagen here is the screenshot I am seeing these days. Gee, first Penguin brings down confidence in all SEO guys, now after trumping author thumbnails all I heard on the phone this AM is all my author thumbs are gone from search. GEEEZZZ!
 
+Chris Lang I'm not seeing it either, so it's not just with you.  I agree that the Add To Circles link is key in driving G+ value straight from the search page.
 
Oh, OK, your previous post confused me. You're not talking about the profile photo in the rich snippet; you're talking about an overlay popup when hovering the G+ link in the rich snippet. My guess is that they want you to click through to the profile rather than just adding it from a hovercard.
 
+Mark Traphagen It does seem that +Chris Lang's concern is 2-fold, 
1) the Author pics are reduced in number in the SERP from before
2) the hover function seems to be gone

Did I get that right Chris?
 
Yep, I am seeing the most beneficial features removed today. Not to mention all my peeps are reporting that their author thumbs are GONE!

Do this search "Key Web Data LLC" 

http://www.googlingsocial.com/images/testing-author-tags.png

That is how it used to look, now I only get one author thumb out of 4 sites enabled? That is total BS guys.
 
The author pics have been reduced to one per author per search query for about two weeks now. I thought that was well-known. 

The hover function, yes, appears to be gone. Of course, with Google, one can never be sure if that's just temporary while they are messing with code or coming up with an improvement.
 
Also, NO author thumbnails are showing logged out of Google. It did not used to be like that. 
 
My point is why get us all on board with great features and then take them away? This is not good for us, for Google+ or the end users.
 
Why is it BS? I can understand Google being worried about so overloading the results with author photos that they lose their efficacy with searchers. I have actually worried that having three or four author thumbnails in a row might be a negative; raising a suspicion in searcher's minds about me being a spammer for "owning" so many of the top results. 

I'm still getting three or four results in those cases, so I'm not complaining!
 
re: "why get us all on board with great features and then take them away?"

Because they told us all along that this is all beta and they will be testing and revamping it all the time.
 
This is not a surprise. Google has done this in search results all along. For example, as an AdWords manager I had to get used to the fact that the way my ads would appear on the page was constantly shifting. Google says they do this in response to testing, and go with whatever yields the best CTR overall.
 
This is a lesson on the fleeting nature of internet postings.  Nothing here is real or permanent.  It's easy, flexible, and immensely interesting, but far from permanent.  Sorry to go off-track.
 
Why give us great features for marketers, then turn them down to less than half of what it was? NO ONE likes SPYW, it is awful, even at my G+ Centric 3 year old blog about Google Social going back to 2008 only 20% of my visitors arrive logged into Google.

So when you take following me from real search away, then you have just taken my best lead generation tool away.

SPYW needs to be moved to the second tab, not the primary and following people from search needs to be replaced. Seriously +Mark Traphagen step back from this and look at it like a real business owner. Like my multi million dollar making clients that I just got off the phone do.

NO ONE cares about SPYW if they are in business, it is junk to most of the world, and US based only as it is. This is not about me, this is what I just heard on the phone from REAL business owners, not G+ centric fanboys like me.

This is a total BS move, just bad for everybody.
 
+Lawrence DeVore Great point and in a way we agree, when you produce great marketing tools, everybody gets excited about them, then they just go away? That is not a marketing platform anyone will have confidence in.
 
"NO author thumbnails are showing logged out of Google. It did not used to be like that."

Once again, please be clear on exactly what you are referrencing. I'm seeing rich snippet author photos in logged out search. Here's a screen cap from moments ago: http://i.imgur.com/pea2x.png
 
Sorry for my lameness, but
SERP = ?
SPYW = ?
 
+John Evans SERP = Serch Engine Result Page, what you get when you search a term on say Google.

SPYW = Search Plus One Your World = Google's latest version of social search.

+Mark Traphagen No, I am talking about my big buck clients author thumbnails are now not showing even in a logged in Organic search. They only show in SPYW.

These are not little bloggers like you and I, these are mega sites with over 1 million visitors a month. They hard coded the author tags everything worked fine for months now.

Now Google has changed the game again with new hoops to jump thru to make this all work.

Seems Google is more out to break all the advice everyone has given on Author tags than anything else here. You know how much has been written on this +Mark Traphagen and now it is all trash again. This is just plain NOT right!
 
Here's the bottom line guys, if we all took the time to get set up right with author thumbnails, get them showing in results, support G+ and display badges on our sites, why break them with a new set of rules?

Then remove the best feature that we all got on board to profit from and that being the Add to Circles overlay in non social search?
 
Not to mention everybody, Google is back to breaking authorship based on www. or the lack of it. That was fixed months ago +AJ Kohn and now it is breaking again.

Seriously jumping thru these hoops is getting old.
AJ Kohn
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I'm just not seeing a real problem here +Chris Lang. Authorship is an evolving product, so change is inevitable. 

At present Google is only showing one author image per person per SERP. That's probably a smart way to go since the duplication probably turned people off. 

As for the 'Add to Circles' functionality. The question to ask is was it good for the user? Not whether it was a boon to marketers. 

Do users really want that functionality in the SERP? Or do they only want to add people to circles when they're in the Google+ context? (i.e - actually on Google+?) I don't know the answer but I don't see the change as being bad. It's just different.

Is this a permanent change? I don't know. Will it change again? You bet. 
 
The point is I am NOT +Thomas Morffew and neither are my best clients that did get authorship set up months ago.

Seriously guys, one of my clients did 7 million dollars worth of business in a week in May. Now is author thumbs are gone, do you think he is going to endorse G+ to his buddies that make even more money than him?

This guy could have influenced a huge business community to jump on board G+. We are talking an entire US state of big businesses.

It is not about having to take 15 minutes to reset your authorship, it IS about: My best clients have no confidence in Google now It has nothing to do with me, my advice or what I have done for them.

It has everything to do with the perception of Google in the real business owners here in the US. Google, you are out to get massive adoption right? Then make it something stable people can depend on. No one in business has time to keep fixing code due to your changes.

Google, we need a PLATFORM, not a target that darts about and no one can hit. 
 
+AJ Kohn Read my comment above. You and I both make a living by advising our clients. I could have really brought G+ to a huge business community. Now my best client will not be saying G+ is great to his mega rich big business owner friends. That just plain upsets me, not to use the words I would like to.
AJ Kohn
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I'd still advise clients to use Google+ +Chris Lang. They'll be well positioned for whatever Google has planned in terms of leveraging Google+ social signals in search.

The specifics might change, but the value is still there. 

Educating clients about the mutable nature of search can be exhausting but necessary. Perhaps you should ask this specific client if they'd like you to apply a no-index to their site pages? I mean, if they have no confidence in Google and it's so bad for business, then opt-out.

I'm being inflammatory here to make a point. Because, really, we're talking about a new technology on an absolutely free platform.

For me the lack of stability is what keeps things interesting and ... in some ways, keeps me in business as well. 
 
What irks me is last week was Penguin banning of very professional sites. Heard that all week from Clients, and I do not do SEO consulting, never have, I have been doing social marketing work for 4 years. So no, my clients are not banned due to my advice. I suggested they go hire people like you to get straightend out +AJ Kohn. They did spending 10K to 20K a month on top dog SEO firms.

Today started the author thumbs complaints, G broke sites what worked all over www. or the lack of it regardless of WBT settings. Instead of implementing email verification, they tossed all the prior rules in the trash.

Again, what we need from Google is a platform, not another Gwave or Buzz. Platforms are stable, Google search was never meant to be stable, but you can't run marketing platforms on things that are here one day and gone another.

That is not the Google fanboy in me talking, that is the business man that has been running his own businesses for over 30 years. 
AJ Kohn
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I get that +Chris Lang. I just think too many clients get into a knee-jerk mentality.

Google isn't perfect. They break stuff, a lot. But that's also why they are, hands down, the best search engine out there. 

Authorship has been chaotic. The number of ways you can verify has made it both easier and tougher at the same time.

I've advocated for the three-link technique simply because it's the most stable. I know the other versions work but they're brittle.

I've also been very vocal about the failings of the Rich Snippets Testing Tool. This is an area where Google has simply botched it time and time again. But ... I know these things and they help guide my effort.

So, maybe it's just me sticking with what I know will work instead of trying out the bleeding edge.

Mind you, I test that stuff but when the rubber meets the road I often take the tougher but more reliable route. 
 
It is almost as if Google tests to see if some feature is used more for promotion that for search and then acts accordingly. 
 
Just did an incognito search for "Key Web Data LLC"     I saw a single author pic of +Chris Lang 

Did the same with SPYW,   saw same results but with the little G+ Greypeep icons to the left of 4 of them.   

Neither offered the Hover card.       
 
+Chris Lang Just wanted to understand this better. Are you saying the Author pics are completely gone or that they've been reduced to 1 per SERP?

Also, do you get the 'Add to Circles' when using SPYW whereas it used be available in non-personalised search before?

I understand your frustration with these changes and I'm trying to understand why if these features are still there (but just in a different context) your clients are negatively impacted. Could you talk more on this impact please?
 
One per SERP (Incognito or SPYW)     No hover card on either Incognito or SPYW   (just checked again to make sure)      

The author pic is a clickable link that will lead you NOT to your G+ page, but to a Search with the Authors Name +  the words in your original search.
 
+Trey Collier Glad to see you GET my point. SPYW gives me tons of author hover cards, see +Robert Scoble above.

Organic (I hate incognito, makes it sound like you are invisible to google or some BS like that) on the right screenshot above, logged into Google, no more hover card, no more author listings, no more nothing. Absolutely worthless.
 
Perhaps this could be to have a clearer distinction between personalised and non-personalised SERPs with these changes? With the ongoing controversy surrounding Google regarding giving their properties higher priority I can see this kind of change giving users the option to receive the more traditional SERPs.


 
+AJ Kohn I would like to invite you to discuss this and tell us how Authorship has changed on my G Plus For Business show on Wednesday. You are the only person I know that knows more about authorship than I do.

I have been returning authorship since before G+. I don't have time to put together a professional show on my own, would love for you AJ, to just tell is how it is at this point.
 
I can certainly live with Organic/SPYW SERPs.   :P
 
+Chet Thaker the only way NOT to see personized results is to use a machine that is not on your IP address that has zero affiliation with you, like a public machine at a Internet Cafe.
 
But I will reiterate!    There are NO hover cards showing at ALL for either Organic or a SPYW  SERPs.     (at least the few times the few times that I've tested that today for this Thread)
 
That is what I am seeing too +Trey Collier Hence my rant on this post. What the Heck?
 
+Mark Traphagen  & +AJ Kohn   both had some plausible reasons for this.   (Google changed it by design.....Google Breaks stuff making changes respectively)      I like the Hover Cards myself.    It will be interesting to watch pan out.         I do NOT like the author pic going to a longer tailed keyword search with the author name pre-pended.    Its like there's a 2nd step to see who the author is and what makes him/her an expert.    UGH
 
The concept that Google is a "search engine", as mentioned by many, simply seems to ignore the fact that Google has grown into an entire suite of capabilities, getting bigger by the month. Each of these are being pushed into and onto G+ as a platform for a cloud based future.

 If SERP is the primary way to drive traffic to the companies/people that most use these Google services, then why restrict the ability of the searcher to see who, exactly, are the people that are using the services/platform and the success they may be enjoying?

No profession or industry is going to adopt, in masse or over time, a business model or platform they cannot expect to be consistent. Models and platforms evolve will always evolve. They may not be widely accepted if they impose potentially profit reducing change with little or no notice or re-education.
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