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DuckDuckGo tests AI search

DuckDuckGo, a privacy-focused search engine, launched DuckAssist, an AI-powered summarization feature, in beta today. DuckAssist can directly answer simple search queries.

DDG says it uses ChatGPT maker OpenAI and Anthropic, an AI startup founded by ex-OpenAI employees, to power its natural language summarization capability, along with its own active indexing of Wikipedia and other reference sites to source answers (the encyclopedia Britannia is another source it mentions).

DuckAssist founder Gabe Weinberg tells that its sources are “99%+ Wikipedia”. However, the company is “experimenting with how incorporating other sources could work and when to use them,” suggesting it may tailor sourcing to the query (so, for example, a topical news-related search query might be better responded to by DuckAssist sourcing information from trusted news media). Thus, the future of DDG’s feature and whether it will partner with reference sites are unknown.

DuckAssist is currently only available through DDG’s apps and browser extensions, but the company plans to expand it to all search users in the coming weeks. The beta feature is free and does not require login. Currently only in English.

Weinberg says that the OpenAI DaVinci and Anthropic Claude models are what make DDG’s natural language summarization work.DDG is “experimenting” with OpenAI’s Turbo model.

DDG’s search engine has an Instant Answers feature that appears above the links for certain queries. (Examples include asking the search engine to perform basic calculations, display the current month’s calendar, or provide factual information.)

DDG calls this “fully integrated instant answer” because adding generative AI summarization has allowed it to answer more queries directly.


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