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Ohio sues Google, claiming tech giant should be 'public utility'

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Posted at 4:07 PM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 19:13:16-04

CLEVELAND — After recently filing a lawsuit against Google, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost spoke with News 5 about the pending litigation.

"Google kind of has their thumb on the scale in their search results," he said. "[We're] not going to ask them to break them up. We’re not asking for money damages."

Yost said this is the first time a U.S. State filed a lawsuit against Google arguing for "public utility" status, similar to how railroads, water and telephone companies are classified.

Yost pointed out how he sees Google competes on an uneven playing field if the tech giant happens to be in the same space as other private businesses.

"Say I want to fly from Cleveland to Dallas and I Google it, the first thing that comes up is Google Flights," Yost said. "Travelocity or Orbitz can’t get that top spot for any amount of money."

News 5 reached out to Google about the lawsuit, who replied saying:

“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.”