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Ohio advances lawsuit to declare Google a common carrier subject to government regulation

Lawsuit claims Google intentionally prioritizes search results for its products over organic search results and thus harms competitors.

Published: December 9, 2022 3:35pm

Updated: December 12, 2022 6:22am

(The Center Square) -

Ohio has a court date for the first-of-its-kind lawsuit against Google.

Delaware County Common Pleas Court set May 14 as the date Attorney General Dave Yost begins his case against the internet search giant in an effort to have it declared a common carrier and subject to government regulation.

“By manipulating search results to self-preference its own products, Google is tilting the playing field against consumers and against emerging competitors,” Yost said. “It's time to bring those unfair practices to an end.”

As previously reported by The Center Square, a Delaware County judge ruled in May the state’s lawsuit could move forward.

The lawsuit, filed nearly a year before that ruling, claims Google intentionally prioritizes search results for its products over organic search results and harms competitors by featuring its products and services prominently on its results pages.

It also says the California-based company has a duty to offer sources or competitors rights equal to its own, claiming it should not prioritize the placement of its own products, services and websites on search results.

Yost said he wants those equal rights to extend to advertisements, enhancements, knowledge boxes, integrated specialized searches, direct answers and other features.

The lawsuit does not seek monetary damages.

Yost claims Google hurts Ohioans by not offering all the information in order for someone searching to make the best decision. He used searching for a flight as an example, saying if Google returns its own search results to steer someone to Google Flights, the person will not see offers from competitors such as Orbitz or Travelocity.

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