Google's Matt Cutts says Google is "now doing work on how to promote good guys."
More specifically, Google is working on changes to its algorithm that will make it better at promoting content from people who it considers authoritative on certain subjects.
You may recall earlier this year when Cutts put out the following video talking about things Google would be working on this year.
In that, he said, “We have also been working on a lot of ways to help regular webmasters. We’re doing a better job of detecting when someone is more of an authority on a specific space. You know, it could be medical. It could be travel. Whatever. And try to make sure that those rank a little more highly if you’re some sort of authority or a site, according to the algorithms, we think might be a little more appropriate for users.”
Apparently that's something Google is working on right now.
We have been working on a lot of different stuff. We are actually now doing work on how to promote good guys. So if you are an authority in a space, if you search for podcasts, you want to return something like Twit.tv. So we are trying to figure out who are the authorities in the individual little topic areas and then how do we make sure those sites show up, for medical, or shopping or travel or any one of thousands of other topics. That is to be done algorithmically not by humans … So page rank is sort of this global importance. The New York times is important so if they link to you then you must also be important. But you can start to drill down in individual topic areas and say okay if Jeff Jarvis (Prof of journalism) links to me he is an expert in journalism and so therefore I might be a little bit more relevant in the journalistic field. We’re trying to measure those kinds of topics. Because you know you really want to listen to the experts in each area if you can.
For quite a while now, authorship has given Google an important signal about individuals as they relate to the content they're putting out. Interestingly, Google is scaling authorship back a bit.