Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Christopher Mims

A View from Christopher Mims

Who We're Having Affairs With, According to Google Autocomplete

Married men, coworkers, bosses, and professors, in that order.

  • November 7, 2011

Google Autocomplete suggests, in real time, ways to complete your searches. The algorithms behind the feature rely on a number of factors when determining what to show you, but it’s safe to say that for requests that are not regional or about breaking news, the primary criterion is simple popularity.

The best data suggest that 15 to 18 percent of people who have ever been married have had an affair.

The fourth item in the screenshot above may be specific to my own Google history, because lately I’ve been searching for this article about an affair with a professor whenever I want to send it to someone as a great example of confessional first person writing. (Google autocomplete is also informed by your search history.) So I’m curious if readers’ results vary. Give it a shot! Then leave it in the comments.

The latest Insider Conversation is live! Listen to the story behind the story.

Subscribe today
Already a Premium subscriber? Log in.

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Premium.
  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look: exclusive early access to important stories, before they’re available to anyone else

    Insider Conversations: listen in on in-depth calls between our editors and today’s thought leaders

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.