Brett_Tabke - 4:43 pm on Sep 13, 2012 (gmt 0)
The biggest problem right now, is Google is only getting social data from G+. Google can't crawl Facebook, Twitter, or most Linkedin data. So the only social "authority" Google has to use, is off G+. That isn't enough data to translate to the entire web. Hence the astro-turf and 'prizes' campaign for the "author" tag.
What I mean by that, is google put the little 'author' images on the serps to drive traffic to those site and encourage more people to use the author tag. After more sites use the author tag - which is an "authority signal" - then the whole concept becomes more viral.
There are alot of people playing the 'author' tag very heavily. Most pretty much agree there is some form of a page rank metric associated with accounts. eg: magic social authority across diverse websites.