japonicus - 3:37 am on Feb 14, 2013 (gmt 0)
You're a very cynical lot here :)
I don't see the desire to link a published article to a verifiable author as particularly nefarious. It could be a good way of cutting down on scraping. Perhaps it's a way for search engines to find their way out of the mire of copies of copied 'original' content that makes up most of the web at the moment.
If you've gone to the effort of researching and writing a useful article then linking it to a personal profile seems a non-issue to me.
It's not so much about manipulating search results as promoting content that someone is willing to admit to having written (which is surely at least a hint as to quality).
It's also a different issue from repressive governments wanting to know everyone's details online - that's likely to happen anyway regardless of what google gets up to.