DuckDuckGo is the latest search engine to launch an AI assistant

Search engine DuckDuckGo now has an artificial intelligence-based assistant of its own.

Called DuckAssist, the new feature(Opens in a new tab) uses generative AI, developed in partnership with ChatGPT creator OpenAI and AI research company Anthropic, to answer users’ queries in a more conversational way.

For example, if you ask DuckDuckGo about the color of the dress that went viral back in 2015, it will give you a straight up answer and a bit more info on how the dress came to be, instead of merely providing a list of topics on the subject.

While that’s far from conversing with an AI chatbot such as ChatGPT, it can be a quicker and easier way to get exactly the info you need, without having to click through several links to find it.

To create these summaries, DuckAssist uses Wikipedia (and, occasionally, sites like Britannica), so the result is not that different from, say, Google’s Wikipedia-based summaries which appear for certain queries. However, DuckDuckGo says that DuckAssist is “first in a series of generative AI-assisted features” that the company hopes to roll out “in the coming months.”

DuckDuckGo DuckAssist

DuckAssist won’t appear for every query, and it does sometimes make mistakes, DuckDuckGo warns.
Credit: DuckDuckGo

DuckAssist is free to use and open to everyone, but it won’t show up on the web; instead, it’s currently limited to DuckDuckGo’s browsing apps and browser extensions. The company says it plans to roll it out to everyone should this trial go well.

DuckDuckGo is a privacy-oriented search engine that promises anonymity, and DuckAssist is similarly anonymous and does not require logging in.

The feature comes a few weeks after Microsoft added an AI chatbot to its search engine, Bing. Google is also working on an AI chatbot called Bard, which will complement its search results.

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