Google is reportedly testing authorship-like search results for brands, where it shows company logos and Google+ circle information for the results, similar to how it shows author photos and Google+ circle information with authorship.
With Authorship, it’s based on authorship markup that Google encourages people to use, but with these brand results, it appears to be based on simply having a verified Google+ page. The image it grabs is actually whatever image the Google+ page has set as its profile image (so it doesn’t necessarily have to be a logo).
Siege Media Founder Ross Hudgens spotted the results and blogged about them on Thursday. He writes:
However, in both examples, Travelstart and Progressive, their Google Plus accounts are verified, which would lead some to believe that Google was circumventing that markup to reward pages they could identify as authoritative enough to give verification status.
It’s worth noting that these results aren’t only showing up for branded keyword searches, but for generic ones (like “flight” and “car insurance”) as well. If this becomes more than a test, I’m sure Google will announce the feature properly, and encourage webmasters and businesses to get their Google+ pages verified.
Identity and trust are more important than ever to Google these days, which is the whole reason authorship exists. Look for Google to be doing more with that in the future, as well.