Being aware of how your author-identity-related content was performing was gaining importance as the buzz increases about Google’s Author Rank system which (if it is not already) will very likely soon be affecting how Google ranks search results. (See also “The SEO Power of Google+ Plus Google Author Rank.”)
This past week, however, Google Webmaster Tools underwent a few organizational changes, and Labs (along with the Author Stats report) disappeared.
When Google removes a Labs project, it is for one of two reasons: the project has outlived its usefulness, or it is about to go mainstream.
Since it is unlikely that Google is backing away from its Author Rank project, perhaps we will soon see new and vastly improved analytics for it, perhaps even incorporated directly into Google Analytics. Google appears to be doing everything it can to encourage use of authorship markup to connect content-producers with a Google+ identity. The first incentive was the author rich snippets that started appearing for authors using the system. Detailed analytics on how one’s authored content is performing in search results would be another huge boost to the program.
UPDATE: Barry Schwartz, in his post about this issue, just shared the following information straight from a Google employee:
Google’s Pierre Far responded to me on Google+ about this issue saying it was removed. He said:
We’ve currently disabled the experimental Author stats feature in Webmaster Tools Labs as we work to fix a bug in the way stats are attributed.