For those who don’t like using mainstream search engines like Google or Microsoft’s Bing, chances are you’re familiar with DuckDuckGo. Though now, companies behind said mainstream search engines are going pretty hard on generative AI integration, with Bard being on the way and Bing AI already being used, even if not by everyone. So naturally, DuckDuckGo needs its own. The company announced as much in a recent blog post, with the launch of the beta of what it calls DuckAssist.
According to the blog post in question, DuckAssist is similar to the Microsoft Bing AI, and in two ways at that. One is that it uses the natural language tech from OpenAI, as well as Anthropic. The other is that it provides a more conversational answer to search queries. Though the one key difference between the two is that DuckDuckGo’s AI only takes info from specific sources rather than around the whole world wide web. For now, this means Wikipedia, and “occasionally from related sites like Britannica”.
During this beta stage, DuckDuckGo says that DuckAssist will work better for questions with “straightforward answers in Wikipedia”. So topping the list of caveats is that it won’t work as well with subjective questions. Another caveat for now is that the company is using “the most recent full Wikipedia download available, which is at most a few weeks old”. This means that while the info it provides can be relatively up to date, probably don’t expect details on anything that’s only a few days old or newer.
DuckDuckGo says that DuckAssist is only pulling info from specific sources for now so that it doesn’t “hallucinate”, or make things up and go on wild tangents. You’ll also get a source link at the end of the answer so you can double-check the accuracy of the info yourself. While this limits the answers that it can provide users, it is an understandable move considering the sort of things Bing AI has been saying.