The Google Authorship pictures that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in search results are about to go away. Google’s John Mueller detailed this change in an announcement on Google+:
We’ve been doing lots of work to clean up the visual design of our search results… As a part of this, we’re simplifying the way authorship is shown in mobile and desktop search results, removing the profile photo and circle count.
Mueller also explains that removing authorship pictures from search results has not had a significant effect on click-through rates: “Our experiments indicate that click-through behavior on this new less-cluttered design is similar to the previous one.”
Google is not doing away with authorship information all together though, the updated look will simply feature the author’s name in light grey as shown in this example:
Google Authorship has an updated look in the Google News results as well. The new look for authorship in Google News contains a small profile photo, but the author’s Google+ Circle count has been removed.
The new look for Authorship in both News and regular search results is being rolled out to desktop and mobile.
For more information about Google Authorship, view this help document.