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Google Says Its Search Isn’t Public Utility Just Because It’s Popular

Google is looking to have a lawsuit brought by Ohio’s Attorney General dismissed, on the grounds that its search engine isn’t a public utility just because everybody uses it.

Ohio’s Attorney General David Yost filed the lawsuit in June, saying that Google’s search engine should be regulated in the same way as other public utilities such as water and electricity – a claim Google counter as “absurd”.

“To claim, as Ohio does, that Google Search is a ‘public utility’ is to declare it a business that Ohio could acquire, construct, own or operate. But that is absurd,” Google said in its filing.

“The State could not possibly undertake such a burden for countless reasons, not the least of which is that it has no business dictating the online information it wants people to see.”

Google say the suit “has no more validity under the law than a request to declare Fox News, the New York Times, or Walmart a ‘public utility’ because most people in a particular town prefer to get their news or groceries from them instead of someone else.”

Google’s also argued claims that its search was ‘anti-competitive’ was a mute point, considering it is protected under the First Amendment as an editorial choice.

“The State cannot interfere with this protected expression, let alone try to control what Google must or must not include on its Results Page,” Google said.

“Google Search is not shipping a commodity product, but constantly working to provide useful information in response to people’s unique queries,” the company said.


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