EditorialGuy - 5:48 pm on Jul 8, 2013 (gmt 0)
However, I could see Google bumping you up a spot or two if it's already associated your name (as verified with a Google+ account, of course) as authority on a certain topic.
Precisely. Matt Cutts hinted as much in his recent video (see quote earlier in this thread), when he talked about Google Search changes that would be coming this summer.
IMHO, the most important role of Google+ in authorship and Author Rank (at least in the foreseeable future) will be that of an "identify platform." Even if +1s become ranking factors, Google+ will be useful to the Google Search team as a way to identify authors.