Gary Illyes from Google said today at SMX East that webmasters and publishers should leave the authorship markup on their page.
In August 2014, Google removed support for Authorship markup completely, not just the author image, which dropped in June 2014.
But to everyone’s surprise, Gary Illyes told the audience to keep authorship live in your source code. The question surprised Danny Sullivan, the founding editor of Search Engine Land, and most of the audience.
I am pretty sure John Mueller from Google told webmasters it was safe to remove the authorship markup from their sites. But now Gary Illyes is saying to keep it.
Why keep it? Gary said that you never know when the Google search team may want to start using it again. Yes, that is a head-scratcher.
I am pretty sure Google uses a form of authorship and author rank for determining when to show in-depth articles in the search results. So maybe that is why he told people not to remove the authorship markup.
We will try to get clarification from Google on this statement.