Google will stop showing authorship results in Google Search, and will no longer be tracking data from content using rel=author markup.
Google Authorship was a tool used to connect your Google Profile to a web page or blog post you created.
When your published content showed up on a Google search engine results page, your Google+ profile picture showed up if you had everything configured correctly and your page was optimized for Google Authorship.
It was kind of an advanced techie-thing, but if you did it and your page showed up on a search engine results page, and your picture was there, it definitely got some attention compared to other listings that did NOT have an authorship photo.
Google has bagged a lot of products and services in it’s short time on this planet.
For those of you who are the more advanced techie-type there is a great article about Google Authorship and its demise at Search Engine Land.