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Ohio sues to have Google declared a public utility By Reuters 

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The brand of Google is seen on the excessive profile startups and excessive tech leaders gathering, Viva Tech,in Paris, France Might 16, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Ohio requested a court docket on Tuesday to declare Alphabet (NASDAQ:)’s Google a public utility, a step the state’s Republican lawyer normal mentioned would forbid the search and promoting large from giving preferential therapy to its personal merchandise.

“Once you personal the railroad or the electrical firm or the cellphone tower, you need to deal with everybody the identical and provides all people entry,” Lawyer Basic Dave Yost mentioned in an announcement.

The lawsuit, which estimates that Google is used for almost 90% of web searches and has 95% of the search share on cellular units, accuses Google of responding to sure search requests in a method that prioritizes Google’s merchandise even when different responses would give higher solutions.

“Google makes use of its dominance of web search to steer Ohioans to Google’s personal merchandise – that is discriminatory and anti-competitive,” Yost mentioned.

A Google spokesperson mentioned the corporate would defend itself in court docket.

“Google Search is designed to supply individuals with essentially the most related and useful outcomes. … Ohioans merely don’t desire the federal government to run Google like a gasoline or electrical firm. This lawsuit has no foundation in truth or legislation,” the spokesperson’s assertion mentioned.

The lawsuit seeks no financial damages however asks the court docket to require Google to chorus from prioritizing its personal merchandise. It alleges that almost two-thirds of Google searches in 2020 have been completed with out leaving Google’s platform.

“It usually options Google services and products in engaging codecs on the prime of the Outcomes web page above natural search outcomes. Moreover, Google usually presents Google merchandise in enhanced methods within the search outcomes which might be designed to seize extra clicks,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit was filed within the widespread pleas court docket, Delaware County, in Ohio. It’s one in every of a number of filed by the federal authorities and state attorneys normal towards huge tech platforms Google and Fb (NASDAQ:).

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