You may have noticed a change on Google's news channels, which is the lack of headshots attached to articles with accompanying information about who wrote each piece. For better or worse, Google decided to end its authorship program on the basis that it just wasn't as useful to readers as Google hoped it would be, and even worse, it had become a distraction in some cases.
John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, announced the withdrawal of the authorship program on his Google+ page. According to Mueller, tests show that removing authorship generally doesn't reduce traffic to sites, nor does it increase ad clicks. In other words, no harm, no foul for abruptly ending the program.
Some webmasters are likely to celebrate Google's decision. Implementing authorship never seemed to be as easy as it should have been, and sometimes it could turn into a downright convoluted process with unpredictable results. In any event, it's gone now.
What's not gone is the ability to see Google+ posts from friends and pages when they're relevant to your search query. This will continue to happen both in the main results and on the right-hand side.