DuckDuckGo, the privacy-focused search engine, has announced the integration of artificial intelligence into its platform with the launch of a new tool called DuckAssist. Currently in beta and available only through its mobile apps and browser extensions, DuckAssist automatically summarizes information from Wikipedia in response to certain queries.
When a user enters a question that DuckAssist can assist with, a box will appear at the top of the search results asking if they want to check Wikipedia for relevant information on the topic. If the user clicks the “Ask” button, an AI-generated answer using summarized information from Wikipedia will be provided. If the same question has been answered before, the response will automatically appear, saving the user time.
Built on language models from OpenAI and Google-backed Anthropic, the tool focuses on privacy and does not share any personally identifiable information with these companies. DuckDuckGo’s founder and CEO, Gabriel Weinberg, emphasized that anonymous questions will not be used to train their models.
However, DuckAssist does not have an answer for every question and is more likely to appear with queries that have “straightforward answers in Wikipedia.” It is also more likely to appear if the user appends “wiki” to their question. The feature uses the most recent full Wikipedia download available, which may be up to a few weeks old, but the company plans to update this in the future and add more sources for DuckAssist to draw from.
Like other AI tools, DuckAssist is not perfect and may occasionally provide incorrect information. Weinberg acknowledges that there is a limit to the amount of information the feature can summarize, but believes that by asking DuckAssist to only summarize information from Wikipedia, the probability of it making something up is greatly reduced.
One significant advantage of DuckAssist is that users do not need to sign in to use it, making it more convenient than other AI search tools that require users to log in. DuckDuckGo’s incorporation of AI technology into its search engine is a notable development, given its commitment to user privacy.