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DuckDuckGo, the privacy-focused search engine, has launched a new beta feature called DuckAssist, which uses generative AI to offer “more directly responsive” answers to questions summarized from Wikipedia and related sources.
Unlike OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s AI models, which have a broad focus, DuckAssist has been specifically designed to provide concise and accurate answers to straightforward questions. The feature is part of DuckDuckGo’s ongoing efforts to explore the potential of AI and how it can add value to users’ private search and browsing experience.
According to Gabriel Weinberg, the founder, and CEO of DuckDuckGo, DuckAssist uses technology from both OpenAI and Anthropic and will summarize answers from Wikipedia and occasionally related sites like Britannica using DuckDuckGo’s active indexing.
The beta version of DuckAssist is available to all users, and the “Instant Answer” feature may show up for certain searches at the top with an “Ask” button to get the natural AI response. However, DuckAssist is currently designed to answer more objective, straightforward questions rather than subjective ones.
For the beta trial, DuckAssist is most likely to appear in search results when users search for questions that have straightforward answers in Wikipedia. DuckDuckGo is using the most recent full Wikipedia download available, which is at most a few weeks old, and the feature will not appear for questions more recent than that.
Weinberg also notes that users may not see DuckAssist on many searches yet, but with the combination of Wikipedia and generative AI, the feature can “vastly increase the number of Instant Answers we can provide“.
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DuckAssist is private, and users don’t need to sign up to use it. The feature is available now and is only available in English in DuckDuckGo’s browsing apps (iOS, Android, and Mac) and browser extensions (Firefox, Chrome, and Safari). However, the company plans to roll it out to all DuckDuckGo search users soon.
For those who want to try out DuckAssist, phrasing your search query as a question makes it more likely to appear in search results. Adding the word “wiki” to your search also makes it more likely to appear. If users don’t want DuckAssist to appear in search results, they can disable “Instant Answers” in search settings, although this will disable all Instant Answers, not just DuckAssist.