Within the past month, the two words search engines and language models have almost become synonymous with each other. First, Microsoft introduced that the Bing search engine would be greatly enhanced with AI technology from OpenAI.
Almost at the same time , Google announced that its search engine would similarly have chatbot technology built in.
Now, another player in search engines, DuckDuckGo, is ready to embrace AI. DuckDuckGo, which differs from Google and Bing by focusing on privacy, takes a slightly different approach to AI than its competitors.
Where Bing and Google go all-in and let their respective language models respond to everything between heaven and earth – subject to the many errors and shortcomings this entails – DuckDuckGo goes about it more cautiously.
Summarizes content from Wikipedia
DuckDuckGo’s AI solution is called DuckAssist and is a new tool in the English version of the search engine that automatically summarizes answers to questions based on content on Wikipedia and similar sites such as Britannica. DuckAssist automatically appears when the search engine assesses that it can piece together a simple and correct answer to a question that the user asks in the search engine.
According to DuckDuckGo, the feature in its current state is only suitable for answering relatively straightforward questions such as “what is a search engine index?” rather than more subjective questions like “what is the best search engine?”.
DuckDuckGo’s algorithm uses an archive from Wikipedia that is a few weeks old, and the language model cannot therefore respond to very current topics – but the classic version of the search engine will still be able to.
It is technology from OpenAI and Anthropic that drives the artificial intelligence that summarizes the content from, for example, Wikipedia into easy-to-digest answers. OpenAI is the company behind the hyped ChatGPT chatbot , and which also provides the technology behind the language model in Bing Chat.
Initially, DuckDuckGo’s language model is only available in English and when using the search engine via the Android or iPhone app or via the browser extension for either Chrome, Firefox or Safari. If all goes well, the rollout will expand.
In the global search engine landscape, DuckDuckGo is a small player with a market share of approximately 0.83 percent. DuckDuckGo gets the underlying technology from Bing, whose market share is 8.85 percent.