The Google+ icons and logos for business profiles are now being shown in the rich snippets portion of search results.
Certain companies have been spotted within the results pages in the rich snippet areas. Through investigation, we can confirm that at this stage, the rel=publisher markup isn’t required for the logo to show in results. It is however, required that the company Google+ profile needs to be connected to the company website and that connection be verified.
As soon as company logos were appearing within search results, we began testing. Surprisingly, we found company websites that contained no rel=publisher markup. Even more surprisingly, we also found websites that were appearing without any kind of rich snippet or schema markup in place. The only real pattern we found was that companies showing up all had their website verified on their Google+ page.
It was less than two months ago that Google confirmed they don’t have any plans to include publishership within results for business. They told us that it wasn’t coming any time soon. It may be true that these company appearances aren’t necessarily down to rel=publisher markup, the concept of authorship and publishing definitely appears to be in play.
This may or may not be something that Google are bringing in. It’s worth noting that it could be a test of sorts as Google has a history of confusing search results for tests.