Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

U.S. STATE OF OHIO MOVES COURT TO HAVE GOOGLE DECLARED A ‘PUBLIC UTILITY’

- Agence France-presse

SAN FRANCISCO: The US state of Ohio on Tuesday filed an unpreceden­ted lawsuit calling on a local court to declare Google as much a public utility as an electric company.

Google should be designated a public utility subject to government regulation regarding its search engine and other services, Ohio attorney general Dave Yost contended in the legal filing.

Public utilities supply essential goods or services such as water or power, and are often effectivel­y monopolies. “When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access,” Yost said in a release announcing the suit.

Yost accused Google of favouring its own products, websites, and services in search results, putting competitor­s at a disadvanta­ge.

Google said the lawsuit had no basis in fact and that it will defend itself in court.

“AG Yost’s lawsuit would make Google Search results worse and make it harder for small businesses to connect directly with customers,” a company spokesman said.

Ohio late last year was among some three dozen US states that filed a federal lawsuit accusing Google of abusing its market dominance. That case is still pending.

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