The State of Ohio has requested its Federal Court to declare tech giant Google as a public utility. This comes around a week after Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit in pursuit of the same, claiming that the move would hinder the search and advertisement arms of the company from treating its own products in a preferential manner. Speaking on the request, Yost said that it is important for those who own “the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower” to treat everyone equally, while also giving them equal access to the facilities.
Priority Treatment to Google Products
The lawsuit holds that Google responds to certain search requests in such a manner, so as to give priority treatment its own products, even in situations when other responses would be more suited to the search. The case also holds Google accountable for leading internet searches by a landslide, with a share of more than 90%. Additionally, it also states that 965% of the mobile searches are also carried out through the platform.
Yost further said that Google “steers Ohioans towards its own products” by exploiting its market dominance in terms of internet searches, calling it anti-competitive and discriminatory.
Google to Fight Back
Google is all set to defend itself in court, said a spokesperson for the company. As per a statement, the firm holds that its Search platform is so designed to provide people with the most relevant results to their queries. It added that the people in Ohio “simply don’t want the government to run Google like a gas or electric company,” concluding that the suit is completely baseless.
What does the lawsuit demand exactly, you ask? Well, for starters, it is not demanding any type of monetary damages, but instead, simply seeks to get the tech giant to stop giving priority treatment to its own products. To get its point across, the case draws attention to the fact that more than 67% (or two thirds) of the searches at Google in the year 2020 we’re completed without the users even leaving the platform.
Google products are allegedly displayed in an attractive format, designed to “capture more clicks” right at the top of the Results page, even above the “organic search results”, claims Yost in his suit, which is just another in the long list of cases that have been filed in US courts against alleged malpractices by tech giants.