DuckDuckGo Unveils a Feature that Summarizes Information Using Generative AI

IBL News | New York

The privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo entered the generative technology race by announcing a free AI-powered summarization feature, an instant answer but not a chatbot, called DuckAssist this week.

DuckAssist — in beta now and only available via apps and browser extensions — suggests natural language answers in English when it recognizes a search engine it can answer. And when an AI-powered response is available, the user sees a magic wand icon with an “ask me” button in their search results.

“If this DuckAssist trial goes well, we will roll it out to all DuckDuckGo search users in the coming weeks,” said Gabriel Weinberg, CEO of DuckDuckGo, in a blog post.

DuckDuckGo says it’s drawing on natural language technology from Davinci model from OpenAI and Claude model from Anthropic, combined with its own indexing of Wikipedia — “99%+ is Wikipedia” — and occasionally related sites like the Encyclopedia Britannica, among other sources. The company also notes DDG is “experimenting” with the new Turbo model OpenAI recently announced.

Although it’s imperfect, DuckDuckGo considers Wikipedia a relatively reliable source.

DuckDuckGo Enters The AI Race With DuckAssist

Moreover, Gabriel Weinberg, CEO of DuckDuckGo, said:

“Generative AI technology is designed to generate text in response to any prompt, regardless of whether it “knows” the answer or not. By asking DuckAssist to only summarize information from Wikipedia and related sources, the probability that it will “hallucinate” — that is, just make something up — is greatly diminished.”

“In all cases though, a source link, usually a Wikipedia article, will be linked below the summary, often pointing you to a specific section within that article so you can learn more.”

“Nonetheless, DuckAssist won’t generate accurate answers all of the time.”

“DuckAssist may also make mistakes when answering especially complex questions, simply because it would be difficult for any tool to summarize answers in those instances.”