Are you aware of Google authorship? It is nothing but a way to link whatever content you create with Google+ profile. It allows your content to appear in Google search results with the headshot image (your photo) next to it.
When your article or blog content displays your photo besides it, it leads to an improved click through rate - which is ultimately helpful for your personal branding. In the form of author rich snippets, Google enables you to add extra information. The only requirement is your Google+ profile. As a part of search results, your snippet would display the number of people you have in your Google circles/who have you in their Google circles.
Author rich snippets are beneficial to sites in many ways; Matt Cutts, the head of search spam at Google has however confirmed that Google has applied 15% reduction in the amount of author rich snippets that are displayed in search results.
The ability to exhibit and use author rich snippets cannot be sustained anymore for low quality sites - it could be taken away from such sites and this has actually started happening. Matt Cutts also said that this activity would be likely to reduce authorship by 15% in order to show only those authors who are more authoritative.