DuckDuckGo embarks on generative AIs, but with caution

DuckAssist summarizes Wikipedia texts using generative AI to return instant answers.

The DuckDuckGo (DDG) search engine has joined the wave of generative artificial intelligence (AI), but in a more careful way.




Photo: Nucleus Journalism

WHAT THERE WAS? This Wednesday (8.mar), the company launched DuckAssist, a resource that offers instant answers to questions asked in the search field.

DuckAssist uses natural language technology from OpenAI and Anthropic to summarize text from trusted sources, in particular Wikipedia.

It appears in questions that, according to the DDG, “have direct answers on Wikipedia.”

In the example provided, the question “What is a web search index?” would trigger DuckAssist. But a question “Which is the best web search engine?”, no, because it is a more subjective question.



Photo: DuckDuckGo/Disclosure. / Journalism Center

HOW IT WORKS? For now, DuckAssist is labeled as a beta product and only works with questions asked in English.

In addition, you must use your browser or one of the official DDG extensions.

If the tests go well, the company plans to extend DuckAssist to all users of the search engine, including those who do not use either its browsers or extensions.

When a question is asked about a subject previously covered by DuckAssist, the answer will appear right away. If not, you can click the “Ask” button to generate a response.

CONTEXT. DuckAssist is very reminiscent of the instant answers that Google offers. And, as a matter of fact, the DDG itself already offered something similar, albeit simpler, without the use of generative AIs.

Noteworthy is the narrower scope in which generative AI has been applied here, proof that there are other possible applications beyond “put a chatbot on top and be whatever the gods will.”

In the official press release, DDG said that DuckAssist is “the first in a series of AI-assisted browser and search engine updates.” To check.

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