Just had a discussion on Google+ with AJ Kohn about this, and I agree with his take. While AJ agrees that Schmidt is probably making a reference to Author Rank here, we don't know how much that statement is Scmidt's wishful thinking and how much it is based in actual knowledge of how far along the AR project is.
The truth is, Authorship is still very wonky, and downright broken in some aspects. And there are a lot of instances for which a solution has not yet been found, such as multi-authored content. Those may serve as sobering reminders that while Author Rank is a definite intention by Google, actual implementation may still be a ways off.
Thanks for following up in the thread with new info. Authorship is where I personally see content creation and online presence going. I think it's the type of data that search engines and users alike would kill for. Between Authorship markup, Klout, and LinkedIn's "publications" feature, it seems like everyone wants a piece of the authorship and authority pie.
This is extremely important information for all content creators. With Author Rank on the near horizon, Google Authorship will be the gold standard for creators, because without it you're headed to the bottom, fast.
What Gareth said. On a separate note, thanks for taking your time and explaining to me in detail about verification.
For the sake of anyone reading here, there was some speculation on Google+ this morning that when Schmidt said "verified profiles" he was referring only to those Google+ profiles that have a verification check mark. In the discussion in the post linked above, I explain why I think it is not that, but rather "verified authorship," which is something different altogether.
Those are STRONG words: “Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”
I think a lot of people are treating this update as a SPAM-filter update, when really what it is is an improvement to the base algorithm.
I am sure that this will vary in signal weight from SERP to SERP, and not be such a "jarring and jolting" update that will cause a negative image of Google such as other updates.
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