DuckDuckGo, the privacy-focused search engine, has unveiled DuckAssist, a new feature that generates natural language answers to search queries using Wikipedia.
This marks the first in a series of AI-assisted private search and browser updates DuckDuckGo plans to roll out in the coming months.
What Is DuckAssist & How Does It Work?
DuckAssist is a new type of instant answer in search results designed to mirror the look and feel of traditional SERPs.
It scans a specific set of sources, primarily Wikipedia and occasionally related sites like Britannica, using DuckDuckGo’s active indexing.
DuckAssist then generates a brief, sourced summary of what it finds in Wikipedia above the regular private search results.
How Is DuckAssist Different From Other AI Search Tools?
DuckAssist uses natural language technology from OpenAI and Anthropic to summarize the information and provide more direct answers to users’ questions than traditional search results.
While generative AI technology is designed to generate text in response to any prompt, regardless of whether it “knows” the answer, DuckAssist aims only to summarize information from reliable sources like Wikipedia to minimize inaccuracies.
For now, you’re most likely to see DuckAssist in search results when asking straightforward questions with clear answers in Wikipedia.
However, DuckAssist won’t generate accurate answers all the time, and users are encouraged to share feedback during the beta period.
Phrasing search queries as questions or including the word “wiki” in the search query can increase the likelihood of DuckAssist appearing in search results.
DuckDuckGo hopes to vastly increase the number of instant answers it provides through the combination of generative AI and Wikipedia.
DuckDuckGo has been using Wikipedia as the primary source for instant answers for many years.
Although it’s imperfect, DuckDuckGo considers Wikipedia relatively reliable across various subjects.
Gabriel Weinberg, CEO & Founder of DuckDuckGo, states in an announcement:
“Because it’s a public resource with a transparent editorial process that cites all the sources used in an article, you can easily trace exactly where its information is coming from. Finally, since Wikipedia is always being updated, DuckAssist answers can reflect recent understanding of a given topic: right now our DuckAssist Wikipedia index it at most a few weeks old, and we have plans to make it even more recent. We also have plans to add more sources soon; you may already see some signs of that in your results!”
DuckDuckGo’s DuckAssist is an innovative new feature that generates natural language answers to search queries.
Its use of generative AI and Wikipedia has the potential to vastly increase the number of Instant Answers it provides, making it easier for people to find the information they need.
While DuckAssist is currently in beta and only available in English, it may be rolled out to everyone shortly if the trial goes well.
Featured Image: Screenshot from spreadprivacy.com/duckassist-launch/, March 2023.