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Google should be treated as a utility, Ohio claims in new proceedings

Critics of Google have been saying for years that Google should be treated like a utility. On Tuesday, the Ohio Attorney General filed a proceeding seeking a judge to rule that there was only one search company.

This case

Alphabet Co., Ltd.

Goog 0.68%

The subsidiary is also facing antitrust proceedings from the Justice Department and a consortium in another state led by Colorado and Texas. The company is fighting proceedings in countries around the world where its superiority as a search provider is causing a move to contain its power from regulators.

In a series of court complaints, Ohio said it was the first state to file a proceeding seeking a court declaration that Google was a general transporter subject to government regulation under state law. Although the proceedings do not seek financial damages, Google states that it is obliged to provide its competitors with the same rights it provides for its services.

Republican Attorney General Dave Yost said, “If you own a railroad, power company, or mobile phone base station, you need to treat everyone the same and make it accessible to everyone.

A Google spokeswoman said the remedy sought in the Ohio proceedings would worsen the company’s search results and undermine the company’s ability to connect directly with its customers. “Ohio people don’t want the government to run Google like a gas or power company,” a spokeswoman said. “This proceeding has no facts or legal basis and will be defended in court.”

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has filed a proceeding against Google.


Photo:

Julie Kerr Smith / Associated Press

In a statement together April Supreme Court Order, Judge Clarence Thomas suggested that he believes in the regulation of technology platforms as a utility.

The case involved the former president

Donald TrumpOffice practice to block certain individuals from following him

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account. The court dismissed the proceeding as meaningless, given that Mr. Trump had already resigned, but Judge Thomas regulated social media networks such as Twitter, Google, and other tech companies. Said on the suggestion platform that it is possible to limit the authority over who speaks and what to say.

However, the Ohio case focuses on Google’s tendency to display search results that direct users to their products rather than speeches and rival services.

According to web analytics firm StatCounter, Google has a 91% share of the global search. Thanks to Google’s decades of leading search, it has been able to improve its service and make it harder for its competitors by accumulating queries.

Microsoft Of a corporation

Bing or DuckDuckGo — Compete.

For example, a search engine Appeared in the video Similar clips from the online video service YouTube

Facebook Co., Ltd.

The company also brought out content such as lyrics and weather forecasts from other websites, Features it as an answer to a query Instead of directing users to the site that is the source of that information, in the so-called knowledge box.

The Justice Department has filed an antitrust law against Google. Here’s how the tech giant was targeted by federal regulators. Jason Bellini of the WSJ reports. Photo: Spencer Pratt / Getty Images (10/20/20 from video)

Google has previously stated that it does not prioritize YouTube or collect useful information from other websites.

By 2020, two-thirds of Google searches will be Finish without clickingAccording to the analysis of 5.1 trillion queries by SimilarWeb, a digital measurement service. Spark Toro CEO Rand Fishkin, who collaborated with SimilarWeb in the survey, said that by practice users stay on Google’s site where ads are served, depriving other websites of traffic and advertising costs. Said.

Google said in a blog post in March that SimilarWeb’s methodology was flawed. This is because some people adjust their queries before they click to visit the website. The company’s search engine states that it sends billions of clicks to its website each day.

Yost argues that Google’s practice is that Ohio residents do not have complete access to all available information and cannot make informed choices. For example, searching for a flight may direct the user to a Google flight instead of displaying travel services such as Orbitz and Travelocity.

Law scholars said there was little precedent for this case. “I don’t know how we can come up with ways to regulate a company while at the same time protecting it from competition,” said Mark A. Jamison, a business professor at the University of Florida.

The concept of carriers and utilities dates back to the late 19th century controversy over price controls and denial of service. Courts must charge railroads, water companies, pipelines and ferries reasonably and serve citizens without discrimination, but with government-like powers, special privileges and protection from competition. I decided it was necessary.

Such court battles declined in the 20th century when the Supreme Court’s ruling allowed much broader government commercial regulation that did not rely on the distinction between private and public interests.

Daniel A. Crane, a contract and antitrust professor at the University of Michigan Law School, said:

Ohio also joined 37 other people in a lawsuit led by the Colorado Attorney General, who is suing Google in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for anti-competitive acts under Sherman Act.

Apple Co., Ltd.

Becomes the default search provider for iPhone.

Write to Trip Mickle Tripp.Mickle@wsj.com

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Google should be treated as a utility, Ohio claims in new proceedings

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