DuckDuckGo Boards the AI Train with its All New DuckAssist


Swarnali Datta

Analyzing the current situation, it can be said beyond a shadow of doubt that the tech market presently is highly swept by the craze of AI (Artificial Intelligence). While this can be traced back to the introduction of ChatGPT, many companies are introducing AI to their tools. From creating the best AI writing apps, the music streaming giant Spotify’s new AI DJ, to Microsoft coming out with the all new Bing AI, generative AI is really taking the tech industry by storm!

The renowned Pennsylvania-based privacy focused internet search engine DuckDuckGo, has also stepped into the world of artificial intelligence with its all new AI feature- DuckAssist that generates concise answers for users using Wikipedia articles.

Surely, you’re intrigued! Well then, read on to know more.

The new AI fellow in the tech world

DuckDuckGo’s new DuckAssist is powered by generative AI models from Anthropic and OpenAI LLC which is a machine learning startup in San Francisco.  This new AI tool is not a chatbot; rather it provides users with responses to simple search questions.

The feature occasionally also uses outside sources, such as Encyclopedia Britannica, in addition to Wikipedia. DuckAssist responses are presented in a panel above standard DuckDuckGo search results, along with a source link.

DuckDuckGo states that, “Generative AI technology is designed to generate text in response to any prompt, regardless of whether it ‘knows’ the answer or not. However, by asking DuckAssist to only summarise information from Wikipedia and related sources, the probability that it will ‘hallucinate’ – that is, just make something up – is greatly diminished.”

The company further notes- “DuckAssist won’t generate accurate answers all of the time. We fully expect it to make mistakes.” Complex questions may increase the likelihood of errors, hence DDG urges users to provide feedback.

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All users of DDG’s browsing programs and browser add-ons will have access to DuckAssist. Beta Instant Answer in search results will be the tool’s debut appearance to the general public.

According to internal estimates for the startup, there was around 80 million users as of November 2020. DuckDuckGo reported a 55% growth in monthly search traffic over the previous 12 months in June of the following year. This surely is going to rise with the introduction of this new AI tool.

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Functioning of DuckAssist


There are several different versions of DuckDuckGo’s search engine. Thanks to web-based, mobile, and browser add-ons which make DuckDuckGo the default search engine for users. The new DuckAssist feature will first be accessible through the company’s browser extensions and mobile applications.

The Chief Executive Officer and founder of DuckDuckGo, Gabriel Weinberg wrote in a blog post- “For this initial trial, DuckAssist is most likely to appear in our search results when users search for questions that have straightforward answers in Wikipedia.

Think of questions like ‘what is a search engine index?’ rather than more subjective questions like ‘what is the best search engine?’. We are using the most recent full Wikipedia download available, which is at most a few weeks old.”

There is no back and forth between the user and AI because DuckAssist is not a chatbot. This is DDG’s first AI-assisted feature upgrade; thus the system will probably continue to develop.

DuckAssist searches are not an exception to DDG’s policy that they do not save or share their users’ search or browsing histories. DDG search content partners like OpenAI and Anthropic do not have access to your search or browsing history. Also, they won’t train their AI models using queries.

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Summing it up

The introduction of anything new in the tech world encourages different versions of it. Big brands being the trailblazers, they are always up with something new! Surely, like other AI tools, this tool too would reap the colours of success.

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