Google has announced it's expanding eligibility for its verification process to allow more entities to take greater control of their Knowledge Panel and ensure the information presented is as accurate as it can be. Previously, getting verified on Google was limited to only a few entities although with this latest change Google has now confirmed "any person, organization, sports team, event and media property" can now get verified. Basically, the only requirement now seems to be the existence of a Knowledge Panel in the first place.
As a result, individuals or people representing a group or organization now only needs to Google themselves (or the group) to see if a Knowledge Panel shows up. If one does, the person can follow the instructions listed on the panel to get verified. Once verified, they will have the opportunity to suggest edits for some of the information presented in the Knowledge Panel, including the featured image. The process of getting a Knowledge Panel verification is demonstrated in the image below although it is fairly straightforward as Knowledge Panels come with a "Do you manage the online presence of" tab at the bottom. Clicking this tab initiates the verification process where users are then able to use a Google-related service to verify who they are. For example, a Google+, YouTube, Twitter, or Google Console account.
While this is a measure designed to ensure presented information is accurate, true, and a best representation of the person/group, Google has already provided indications that additional features will become available to the Knowledge Panels of verified users, suggesting grander plans for these highlighted results to be more owner-focused in the future. Back in March, for example, Google announced it was starting to show direct updates from select (and verified) musicians on their Knowledge Panel. This is slightly different to the standard information that already is present as it basically acts as a way for entities to directly communicate with those interested in them, and in particular with reference to what is happening now and in the near-future. Almost like a social media feed or additional self-marketing tool which surfaces at the top of Google Search.