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...we're simplifying the way authorship is shown in mobile and desktop search results, removing the profile photo and circle count. (Our experiments indicate that click-through behavior on this new less-cluttered design is similar to the previous one.)
For more information on using authorship on pages of your website, check out
authorship snippets were far less common on the transactional queries where people were most likely to click ads.
Second, users eye tracking studies I've seen indicate that once a user goes into the organic results, they tend to stay there (unless there is nothing in the organics that meets their need).
Mark Traphagen (who occasionally posts here) made a couple of interesting observations on Google+ about the notion that author photos were dumped to encourage ad clicks:
The idea that Google removed author profile pix because it drew clicks away from ads is not supported by the facts. ;)