Last summer, Google launched "in-depth articles," a section in the search results of some queries that highlights longer pieces related to the searched-for topic.
Google's Matt Cutts said this week (via Search Engine Roundtable) that "author rank" comes into play in Google's search results in "some ways" including the in-depth articles section (we have to wonder what the others are).
@marktraphagen to be fair, it does come into play in some ways. For example, in-depth articles use that data, I'm pretty sure.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) March 12, 2014
I guess that explains why Eric Schmidt was highlighted when the feature was first announced.
As Mark Traphagen mentioned in the tweet above, Google's Amit Singhal suggested author rank could come into play more in the future, in terms of regular organic search results.
Late last year, Cutts said, "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."
He hinted at this even before that, last May.
I guess they're still working on it.
Image via Google