commit: 6b2ca8a - #414 (2014-03-05 12:54:44 -0500)
I have a lot of further thoughts on whether Scmidt's quote refers directly to Author Rank or not in my post http://www.virante.org/blog/2013/02/06/google-author-rank-has-google-chairman-eric-schmidt-now-confirmed-it/
The thing is, I don't think he is referring to Author Rank in his comments. I think that AR could be one of many signals deciding 'verification' i.e. if a website has many well trusted authors then that will be a positive signal that the site is for a 'verified' brand.
If Google change the algorithm to heavily favour those who use their own products then I don't think they'll be so successful in defending themselves in court. It's one thing for SEOs to guess that using Google products helps their ranking, it's another for the Executive Chairman to explicitly state that as fact!
Just my thoguhts.