Have you already recognized that author profile images disappeared on Goolge search results? Google announced this in June and the global rollout already happened.
The reason has been some kind of spamming with SEO savvy people using this feature, which led to higher click through rates. Opposed to the great performance there has not been a broad adoption by people and companies writing great content with great content being the number one concern of Google.
Nevertheless there are still some kind of images shown within the search results, which has been shown by a quick research. To research the feature of profile images I use the search term „email marketing“, typically populated by direct marketers eager to be featured. What I have found are an image of a Google Circle and an image of an infographic, which was placed directly within the homepage.
Secondly I read an interesting article about the importance of authorship, which has been related to the appearance of profile images. Whereas the profile images disappeared there is broad consensus that the use of the authorship tag to associate content with its writer is of growing importance. There are even some tools available now to examine the rank of an author (Author Rank (tool in beta) by AuthorRank.org and ClearVoice). A corresponding topic are personal analytics tools, which have been covered lately by the article Content Ranking and Social Media Analytics Tool.
To get further information about current opinions about the importance of authorship and the state of the art using it for search engine optimization read the Search Engine Watch article Content Creators Ranking Checklist: How Quality Scores Influence.