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Ohio AG files lawsuit against Google, seeks to have it declared public utility

Christian Fernsby |
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit to seek to have Google declared a public utility.

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Topics: OHIO    GOOGLE   

AG Yost is claiming the services provided by the search engine company are “discriminatory and anti-competitive.”

“Google uses its dominance of internet search to steer Ohioans to Google’s own products - that’s discriminatory and anti-competitive,” Yost said in the media release. “When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access.”

Yost filed the lawsuit in Delaware County court, seeking Google to be declared a common carrier, or public utility, that’s subject to government regulation. The lawsuit also says Google has “a duty to offer sources or competitors rights equal to its own,” which means the search engine shouldn’t prioritize placement of its own products, services or website on search results pages, Yost said.

“In plain terms, Yost argues Ohioans are harmed by Google because they cannot make the best choices if they don’t get all of the information,” a spokesperson for the Ohio AG’s office said. “For example, if someone searches for a flight and Google returns its own presentation of search results to steer the person to Google Flights, the person doesn’t see offers from competitors such as Orbitz and Travelocity.”

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