On Tuesday, Ohio officials filed a lawsuit against Google, asking the court to declare the company a public utility. According to Reuters, the designation would prevent the search giant from giving preferential treatment to its products and services.
“When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cell phone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access,” Attorney General Dave Yost said in a statement.
The lawsuit alleges Google produces biased search results in favor of its products, even if other responses are more relevant. “Google uses its dominance of internet search to steer Ohioans to Google’s own products – that’s discriminatory and anti-competitive,” Yost added.
According to a Google spokesperson, “Google Search is designed to provide people with the most relevant and helpful results. … 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.”
The suit does not seek monetary damages; instead, it asks the court to require Google to refrain from prioritizing its products, reported Reuters. The lawsuit also claims that Google presents its products at the top of the results page in an enhanced way, designed to capture more online clicks.
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