I don't really understand how having your photo on the Google search page equates to authority. I do it, but that never really made sense to me.
They're certainly not doing a very good job with "authority" at the moment. There's a whole heap of rubbish/scraped results being returned.
I mean I can start a website about motorbikes (which I know nothing about), and use the authorship tool, it doesn't mean I know what I'm talking about.
I've always just felt authority was a way to get more people using Google +. JMO of course.