- data gathering and
- partly showing of author's image and name as byline in search results,
I will not analyze the causes of dropping the processing of rel=author - such analyze is well done in articles linked above. I want rather reassure the community, that the authorship still alive and will be so. The only question is how to correctly implement authorship. Let's look a bit into detail:
What is basically rel=author? This is a kind of link relation, established through W3C. Google attached too much importance to it and now the misuse of this attribute is cleared up.
Do search engines no longer need authorship informations and relations between authors and their articles?Schema.org's semantic markup provides clear possibilities to provide machine-readable markup for author, creator, editor and publisher as properties, which on their part are extensible as Person and Organization types.
— Absolutely wrong!
Are there any markup possibility to establish authorship relations and provide them machine-readable to search engines?
— Absolutely yes! With Schema.org!
HintWhat do you want more? Schema.org's markup isn't misused HTML tag - it is ongoing maintained and improved system, semantic base and the lowest common denominator of the whole web, agreed by all main search engines.
To establish a concrete authorship relation between you and your article extend any property you use (author, publisher etc) with the type Person and use as URL property of it your Google Plus account link.
Don't cry for rel=author, use Schema.org and search engines will understand all of your authorship and publisher relations much better.