COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost obtained a first-of-its-kind court decision when a Delaware County judge refused to throw out the state’s self-preferencing lawsuit against Google Search, suggesting that the search-engine giant may be subject to common carrier laws.
AG Yost’s lawsuit, filed in June 2021, seeks legal declaration that Google Search is a common carrier – in other words, a business subject to government regulation and a duty to deal fairly.
Other courts have found that social media companies are not subject to common carrier regulation. But Google Search, as the world’s undisputed leader in search engines, is different.
“Google cannot use its dominance in search to squeeze out competitors of other services, like travel reservations, shopping and consumer reviews,” Yost said.
Yost is focused on correcting Google’s “self-preferencing,” through which Google intentionally manipulates search results to direct users to Google products even when other products top the results of a Google Search.
Ohio is the first state in the nation to bring such a lawsuit, asking the court to declare Google Search a common carrier, and as a result improve the ways the powerful search engine provides results to Ohioans.