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DuckDuckGo enters AI search race


DuckDuckGo enters AI search race

Privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo has joined its rivals Google and Bing in integrating artificial intelligence into its search results, although its approach is a little different.

Some DuckDuckGo searches phrased as a question will now generate a response from DuckAssist just underneath the search box. This will be taken from Wikipedia and will be a direct answer to your question.

Users are encouraged to enter question-based queries like “what is Newton’s first law?” and “what are the rules of tennis?” If DuckDuckGo is able to find an answer to that question in Wikipedia, it will display it as a specific answer to the query.

Is this feature useful?

You might be wondering how this is any better than just searching on Wikipedia for an answer to your question. After all, most search engines bring up Wikipedia articles relevant to searches anyway.

However, some Wikipedia articles are long and multi-sectioned, so the advantage of DuckAssist is that it pulls out the relevant part of the article for you and shapes it into a phrase that addresses the question. Although DuckAssist is not a chatbot in the same way as ChatGPT, it works in a question-and-answer format.

Personally, I’ve found it quite limited so far. Questions I asked via desktop and mobile didn’t seem to be prompting DuckAssist into any kind of action. I ended up downloading the app, and it still took me a few goes to get a DuckAssist response. When I did, it seemed quite similar to a Google snippet, but better presented. It could also be seen as a more developed version of Ask Jeeves, the 1990s search engine that encouraged you to search in question form and supposedly delivered an answer, although it rarely managed to do this with much success.

Even so, it’s an interesting approach that will only get better, and it comes with DuckDuckGo’s big selling point of increased privacy and anonymity online.

AI has been one of the most interesting shake-ups to social media in recent years, but meaningful content and high-performing websites remain key to search engine rankings. For a brand new website, or if you need more business from your current one, speak to Engage Web.

John Murray

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