The state of Ohio filed a lawsuit on Tuesday targeting Google. This lawsuit is unusual in that it aims to declare the popular multinational technology company a public utility.
According to the state’s Republican attorney general, this step would prevent the major tech company from giving favored treatment to its products. Attorney General David Yost explained in a statement that despite Google’s major overreach and influence, the company should treat everyone equally and allow everyone access.
Why Did Ohio File the Lawsuit?
Whether we are aware of it or not, Google has a significant influence on our everyday lives for personal or business reasons alike. If you’re lost, you just type the address into Google Maps. Not sure what a word means in your language? Just use Google Translate. Need some clarity on a topic? Google Chrome is just a click away. Planning a trip? Google Flights, and Google Trips are at your fingertips. Need quick and easy access to your email? There’s always tried and true Gmail to go to.
With all that convenience comes a lot of power. The lawsuit states that people use Google for 90% of web searches 🔎 and 95% of searches on mobile devices. And according to Ohio, Google is abusing that power.
The state of Ohio accuses Google of responding to specific search demands in a biased way. Basically, the lawsuit alleges that Google gives preference to its own products in search results, even if other options were a better fit for the query.
Yost stated that the tech giant used its influence to lead Ohio citizens towards its products 💸. The lawsuit considers this to be an anti-competitive and discriminatory act.
A spokesperson for Google replied to this, saying that the company would be defending itself in court against these allegations. The spokesperson added that the search engine intended to give users the most beneficial and relevant results according to their search. According to the spokesperson, the lawsuit has no ground to stand on in fact or law ⚖️.
What Does the Lawsuit Want?
The lawsuit doesn’t demand that Google pay any damages. Instead, it requests that the court prohibit Google from favoring its own products.
The lawsuit explains that almost two-thirds of Google searches conducted in 2020 never left the company’s platform. The lawsuit states that Google features its products and services frequently in eye-catching 👀formats at the top of the results page, above other equally optimal results. The suit adds that the search engine displays its products in amplified ways within search results that are engineered to collect more click traffic.
This lawsuit is one of many filed by the federal government against big technology companies such as Google and Facebook. Simply put, this lawsuit, along with many others, is trying to equalize the playing field. Its goal, advocates say, is to create equal opportunity for other companies to display their products and services on the platform.
The argument is that this would be good for businesses and buyers alike. It would give businesses 🕴️ a chance to have more of a significant presence in their respective markets. It would also allow users 😎 access to various options when conducting a web search instead of just Google’s own products and services.
Google’s Role in Everyday Life
This lawsuit is important in part because Google is so massive. Google is undeniably a popular search engine. It primarily assists its users with web searches, showing results to internet sources relevant to the individual’s needs.
Since its establishment, Google has developed and implemented various products and services on its platform. These are supposed assist businesses and individuals by streamlining otherwise tedious tasks.
Google users constantly take advantage of these tools. These include Google features such as Gmail, Chrome, Flights, Translate, and many others. Plus, Google is constantly improving these features to cater to those who use them as part of their jobs and everyday life.
Will Google Become a Utility?
Every time someone uses a Google tool, Google has the opportunity to promote products. And, allegedly, it usually chooses its own products. Ohio’s lawsuit against the tech giant Google may change that, but it hasn’t yet come to fruition.
The state filed the lawsuit 📝 under what it believes to be valid reasoning and demands that the company’s platform is declared as a public entity. Ohio citizens, the state says, experienced major advertisement and coercion to use Google’s products and services rather than the other alternatives that are equally as efficient.
Google, of course, disagrees with this lawsuit and will defend itself in court. The company says the state of Ohio has no legal or factual foundation to stand on. Both parties have their own reasoning, and only time will tell what the court will decide.
Regardless of what state you live in or what search engine you’re dealing with, litigation against tech companies is now commonplace. If you have experienced any form of misconduct from an online tech company, big or small, then speaking with an attorney is your next step.
An attorney can provide you with the most beneficial guidance needed to settle your case and protect your rights. Give us a call and speak to a professional today!