Ohio Files Lawsuit To Declare Google a Public Utility
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Hill: Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) on Tuesday filed a lawsuit asking the court to declare Google a public utility, which would subject the Silicon Valley giant to government regulation. Yost’s complaint, filed in Delaware County Court, alleges Google has used its dominance as a search engine to prioritize its own products over “organic search results” in a way that “intentionally disadvantages competitors.” “Google uses its dominance of internet search to steer Ohioans to Google’s own products — that’s discriminatory and anti-competitive,” Yost said in a statement. “When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access.” The complaint alleges that as a result of Google’s “self-preferencing Results-page architecture,” nearly two-thirds of Google searches in 2020 were completed without users leaving Google-owned platforms, meaning users either never left the search page, or clicked to another Google platform such as YouTube, Google Flights, Google Maps, Google News, Google Shopping or Google Travel. A Google spokesperson said Yost’s lawsuit would “make Google Search results worse and make it harder for small businesses to connect directly with customers.” They added: “Ohioans simply don’t want the government to run Google like a gas or electric company. This lawsuit has no basis in fact or law and we’ll defend ourselves against it in court.”

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