Google seeks dismissal of a Ohio lawsuit, saying its search engine isn't a public utility just because a lot of people use it

An Ohio court was told by Google Search that Google Search is not a public utility simply because it's popular.
In June, Ohio's AG stated that Google prioritised its products and required regulation.

Google stated that states have "no business" dictating what online information people see.

Loading... Click to sign up for Insider marketing emails. You also agree to receive partner offers.

Google sought to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Ohio's attorney General on Friday, claiming that its search engine was not a public utility simply because it is popular.

"To claim, like Ohio, that Google Search a 'public utility' means to declare it a Ohio business that Ohio could acquire construct own or operate. Google stated in its filing that this is absurd. "The State cannot possibly assume such a burden for many reasons, not least because it has no business dictating what online information people see."

In June, Ohio AG Dave Yost sued Google. He claimed that Google's search function should also be regulated as a public utility, just like water, electricity and transportation companies.

Google said Friday that the request by the state "has no greater validity under the law" than a request for Fox News, New York Times, or Walmart to be declared a public utility'. This is because most people prefer to receive their news and groceries from them.

Yost claimed that the company had acted in anti-competitive ways when it placed its own products first, such as Google Flights. The lawsuit stated that rival products should be offered as often as Google's.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Tony Dejak/AP Photo

Google claimed that its results are protected by the First Amendment because they were editorial decisions.

Google stated that the State cannot interfere in this protected expression.

The argument of the company was also technical. According to the company, it was important to explain how Google Search results land on an Ohioan's PC. Google is not a "common carrier" in Ohio, partly because it does not carry any person or anything. According to the company, Internet service providers transfer data.

Google Search does not ship a product that is merely a commodity, but it works constantly to provide useful information to answer people's unique questions," said the company.

Insider reached out to Yost's and Google for comment.