DuckDuckGo launches DuckAssist: an AI search tool that provides instant answers from Wikipedia
DuckDuckGo has announced an AI-assisted private search option, called DuckAssist. This is not a chatbot, it just answers queries, without following up on the topic.
The popularity of artificial intelligence language models such as ChatGPT, Bing Chat, are rising. Microsoft has already proven how an AI can enhance the quality of search results greatly. This could be a make-or-break situation for search engines, and Bing may already be several steps ahead of Google. So it does not come as a surprise that DuckDuckGo wants to foray into the market as soon as possible.
How does DuckAssist differ from ChatGPT or Bing Chat
DuckDuckGo has entered the AI chat. Well, not really. You see, DuckAssist is not a chatbot. Even though it is powered by OpenAI and Anthropic's language models, the AI tool does not have conversational capabilities. You ask it something, it gives you the answer using natural language. That's the end of the story.
Let me explain how it works. When you type a query, DuckAsssist will try to find relevant information from Wikipedia. It then provides the answer in a small box on the search results page.
How is this useful than visiting Wikipedia directly? DuckAssist provides a summary of the information that's specific to your question. It's easier to find what you want to rather than reading whole sections of a Wikipedia page.
It is free, does not track you, and the best part is that you don't need to sign up for an account to use it. The search queries are anonymous, the company says your questions are not used to train its AI, or OpenAI's language model. The drawback to this is that the answers can be inaccurate.
How to access DuckAssist from DuckDuckGo
1. Go to https://duckduckgo.com/
2. Type in a question.
For example: What is Newton's first law?
3. You will see a box that's labeled DuckAssist Beta. It displays a message that reads, "I can check to see if Wikipedia has relevant info on this topic, just ask.".
4. Click the Ask button, and the AI language model will summarize the answer.
DuckDuckGo calls this Instant Answers. It includes annotations by providing links to the sources, in this the Wiki articles that were used to generate the answer from.
You may not see the box and message described in step 3. This depends on whether DuckAssist recognized the question or not. If it didn't, try a different query. Examples: What are the rules of football? Who founded Apple? DuckDuckGo says that adding the word wiki to your query can also help the AI detect the question and fetch the results.
The announcement from DuckDuckGo's CEO and Founder, Gabriel Weinberg, says that DuckAssist is available in its browser and apps for iOS, Android, Mac, and via browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome and Safari. It is currently only available in English. This seemed to be a server-side feature, so I wanted to see if I could access it on its new Windows browser, and it does.
Weinberg says that this is just the beginning, a first in a series of generative AI-assisted features that the company is working on, and that there are plans to roll out more AI features in the coming months. He explained that his company chose Wikipedia because it is a public resource with a transparent editorial process, which cites sources, and is constantly being updated. DuckDuckGo plans to add more sources to improve the tool. DuckAssist's index is not real-time, it is a few weeks old, though it will be updated in the future.
Depending on how the trial goes, DuckDuckGo will roll out the experience to all users in the coming weeks. There is no waitlist for DuckAssist. Give it a try by framing your queries into a question.Advertisement