Ohio asked the court on Tuesday to declare Alphabet’s Google as a utility company. The state’s Republican attorney general said that this would prohibit the search and advertising giant from giving preferential treatment to its products.

“When you own a railroad, a power company, or a cell phone tower, you must treat everyone equally and make it available to everyone,” Attorney General Dave Yost said in a statement.

The lawsuit estimates that Google is used for nearly 90% of Internet searches and has 95% of search share on mobile devices, accusing Google of responding to certain search requests in a way that prioritizes Google products, even if other responses will provide better results. .

“Google uses its dominance in Internet search to guide Ohioans to use Google’s own products-which is discriminatory and anti-competitive,” Jost said.

A Google spokesperson said the company will defend itself in court.

“Google search aims to provide people with the most relevant and useful results…. Ohioans don’t want the government to operate Google like a gas or electric company. There is no factual or legal basis for this lawsuit,” the spokesperson The statement said.

The lawsuit does not seek monetary compensation, but requires the court to ask Google not to prioritize its products. It claims that nearly two-thirds of Google searches in 2020 were completed without leaving the Google platform.

“It usually displays Google products and services in an attractive format at the top of the result page above the organic search results. In addition, Google often displays Google products in an enhanced way in search results, aiming to capture more clicks,” the lawsuit states .

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The lawsuit was filed in the ordinary plea court in Delaware County, Ohio. This is one of several lawsuits filed by the federal government and state attorneys against large technology platforms Google and Facebook.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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