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Google sued again over anti-competitive search practices

Google is being sued by 38 US states, accused of trying to make its search engine as dominant inside cars, TVs and speakers as it is in smartphones.

This follows a landmark lawsuit by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) over a similar issue in October.

It is the tech giant’s third US government-related lawsuit in two months.

Google said in a blog that redesigning its search engine would “deprive Americans of helpful information”.

“We know that scrutiny of big companies is important and we’re prepared to answer questions and work through the issues,” wrote Google’s director of economic policy Adam Cohen.

“But this lawsuit seeks to redesign Search in ways that would deprive Americans of helpful information and hurt businesses’ ability to connect directly with customers. We look forward to making that case in court, while remaining focused on delivering a high-quality search experience for our users.”

He added that there are many alternatives to Google when looking for relevant information, including Amazon, Expedia and Tripadvisor.

The tech giant’s view is that the lawsuit is suggesting that Google Search “should, in fact, be less useful” to consumers.

“When you search for local products and services, we show information that helps you connect with businesses directly and helps them reach more customers,” wrote Mr Cohen.

“This lawsuit demands changes to the design of Google Search, requiring us to prominently feature online middlemen in place of direct connections to businesses.”

The complaint was filed on Thursday by 38 states and territories with both Democrat and Republican prosecutors, led by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.

“Google’s anticompetitive actions have protected its general search monopolies and excluded rivals, depriving consumers of the benefits of competitive choices, forestalling innovation, and undermining new entry or expansion,” Mr Weiser explained. “This lawsuit seeks to restore competition.”

It is a separate matter to the lawsuit filed on Wednesday in which 10 US states accuse Google of anti-competitive online advertising practices, including an allegation that it made a deal with Facebook to manipulate online advertising auctions.

Source
BBC

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