Google author photos removed from search
Google has made the decision to remove all author photos and Google+ circle counts from desktop and mobile search results.
The announcement was made by Google Webmaster trends analyst John Mueller. In a Google+ post, he said: "We've been doing lots of work to clean up the visual design of our search results, in particular creating a better mobile experience and a more consistent design across devices." The removal of profile photos and circle counts is set to be rolled out over the next few days.
It seems that the removal of profile photos and circle counts has been based on the decision to create a consistent user experience across desktop and mobile devices. As part of its "mobile first" strategy, Google wants to get rid of the idea of building two versions of a site for desktop and mobile, and instead create designs with mobile in mind.
Authorship has also been updated in Google News results. Google+ circle counts have gone and profile pictures are now smaller.
How will this affect click through rates?
Authorship rich snippets have been added by many webmasters, with the belief that the photos would help to boost click-through rates (CTR).
While studies have shown that people's eyes have been drawn to results containing profile pictures, even if they are lower down search results pages, John Mueller has said: "Our experiments indicate that click-through behaviour on this new less-cluttered design is similar to the previous one."
Carla Fazakerley, head of search at theEword, has said: "In John Mueller's Google+ post announcing the removal of author photos and Google+ circle counts from search results, he still linked to instructions of how to implement Authorship. It appears that Google's Authorship project is not over, but changing. It will be interesting to see how Google uses data on authors in the future."