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Powered by generative artificial intelligence (AI) models from OpenAI and Anthropic, DuckAssist generates natural language responses to user questions and provides more relevant answers than its predecessor, the Instant Answers tool.

DuckAssist is part of the company’s ongoing push to improve the user experience of its search engine, which boasts 80 million users, according to the startup’s internal estimates from November 2020. With a monthly search traffic of 55% over the previous 12 months, the new feature will likely be a welcome addition for DuckDuckGo’s users.

How does it work?

DuckAssist generates brief answers to user questions based on information in Wikipedia articles and other sources, such as Encyclopedia Britannica. Users will see DuckAssist answers appear in a panel above standard DuckDuckGo search results, along with a link to the article from which the information was retrieved.

For now, the feature is most likely to appear in search results when users search for questions with straightforward answers in Wikipedia. But DuckDuckGo founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg stated that the company plans to roll out several additional generative AI features for its search engine in the coming months.

DuckAssist is currently accessible through the company’s mobile apps and browser extensions, and if the initial trial meets expectations, the company plans to roll it out to all users “soon”.

Keeping up with Google and Microsoft

The launch of DuckAssist follows recent introductions of AI-powered chatbots by Google and Microsoft for their respective search engines. This more or less forced DuckDuckGo to respond, if it wants to remain at the forefront of search engine innovation.

That’s why it’s partnering with OpenAI and Anthropic, two startups that have secured significant funding rounds recently. With Microsoft’s investment of $10 billion in OpenAI and Anthropic’s reportedly successful funding round of about $300 million from Google, it’s clear that the potential of generative AI is a hot topic for tech giants.