Earlier, we reported that author stats in Webmaster Tools have gone MIA. It's missing because of a bug.
A Google spokesperson tells WebProNews, "We’ve currently disabled the experimental ‘Author stats’ feature in Webmaster Tools Labs as we work to fix a bug in the way stats are attributed."
I went to check my “Author Stats”, under the “Labs” tab in Google Webmaster Tools. GONE!
In the past, they only gave me credit for about 50% of the pages that I have “fixed up with Google-required special authorship tags”, according to their specifications.
At the bottom of the “Labs” page, their disclaimer prevails –
“Webmaster Tools Labs is a testing ground for experimental features that aren’t quite ready for primetime (sic). They may change, break or DISAPPEAR AT ANY TIME.”
Nothing about the probably of return, however. (sic)
The timing of this was rather coincidental for me, as I just wrote a long piece about the benefits of authorship (for both users and Google), and talked about the feature.
Of course, just because this feature isn't currently available, it doesn't mean the benefits of authorship are any less, outside of some tracking benefits. For that matter, it sounds like the feature will return, based on the statement we received from Google. In fact, I would be surprised if we don't see more author-related data making its way into Google Analytics.
Google is already adding more social data to GA. Last month, the company announced some new social reports. In addition to that, Google gave a presentation indicating that Google+ Page data would also be coming the service.