Google's Authorship Patent Granted
The patent tells us that this is the reason why it was filed:Content on websites often include authorship information. For example, an article may include a byline listing entities that authored the article. However, the authorship information may not be accurate or may not be valid. For example, an article may include authorship information asserting that a particular entity authored the article when in fact the article was not authored by the particular entity. Inaccuracies and/or invalidity of authorship information cause inaccuracies when obtaining search results and/or confusion to users when the search results are presented. Thus, it would be desirable to confirm authorship of content in website so that the entities that authored the content are properly identified.
In August 2014, it looked like Google Authorship Markup was abandoned by Google, see:
It’s Over: The Rise & Fall Of Google Authorship For Search Resultshttp://searchengineland.com/goodbye-google-authorship-201975
However a Representative from Google made a statement publicly at SMX East to not remove authorship markup if you still had it on your site:
Google Authorship Isn’t Dead After All, Google Recommends Including Ithttp://www.thesempost.com/google-authorship-isnt-dead-after-all-google-recommends-including-it/
We don't know for certain if Google will be paying attention to authorship markup on a site, or not. The patent does describe authorship as we experienced it. The reason for verifying who the author of a page on the Web is still a valid concern on the part of a search engine, and authorship markup can bring Google more certainty, that the byline of an author on a page means that person is truly the author of that page, if they've gone through the verification process described in Google's authorship process. That sounds like a good reason to keep my authorship markup on my pages. #GoogleAuthorship #AuthorIdentification