Ohio files lawsuit to declare Google a public utility

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) on Tuesday filed a lawsuit asking the court to declare Google a public utility, which would subject the Silicon Valley giant to government regulation.

Yost’s complaint, filed in Delaware County Court, alleges Google has used its dominance as a search engine to prioritize its own products over “organic search results” in a way that “intentionally disadvantages competitors.”

“Google uses its dominance of internet search to steer Ohioans to Google’s own products–that’s discriminatory and anti-competitive,” Yost said in a statement. “When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access.”

Ohio is the first state to bring such a lawsuit against Google, but it adds to a growing list of antitrust battles the tech giant is facing.

A Google spokesperson said Yost’s lawsuit would “make Google Search results worse and make it harder for small businesses to connect directly with customers.”