Ohio Attorney General files lawsuit against Google

June 8, 2021 – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in an effort to declare Google a public utility, his office announced.

The suit seeks to reign in the ways Google provides search results to Ohioans. Yost is looking to declare Google a public utility to make it subject to government regulation and declare that Google cannot prioritize the placement of its own products.

Yost argues that Google steers users to its own services and websites when it prioritizes google products and that it’s a discriminatory practice. He believes Google ought to offer its competitors rights equal to its own, including advertisements, enhancements, integrated specialized searches, and other features.

“Google’s mission statement is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,’” the lawsuit reads. “What Google fails to disclose to its user is that it manipulates its presentation of that information to preference its own services, yielding search results that best benefit the interests of Google.”

In a press release, Yost’s office provided an example of the practice it is seeking to change – saying Ohioans cannot make the best choices if they don’t have all the information.

“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,” the press release read.

Yost was part of another anti-competition lawsuit filed against Google in December that claims Google violated the Sherman Act, a law that seeks to stop groups of businesses from colluding to form a monopoly.

Google is now responding to the lawsuit, providing 13abc with a statement found in full below:

“Google Search is designed to provide people with the most relevant and helpful results. AG Yost’s lawsuit would make Google Search results worse and make it harder for small businesses to connect directly with customers. 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.”

By WTVG 13
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