Now 38 US states sue Google over search manipulation

Google has been hit by a fresh antitrust lawsuit by a coalition of 38 states in the US focusing on the design of the tech giant’s search engine.

According to a statement from the New York attorney general’s office on Thursday, the states are asking the court to stop Google’s illegal conduct and “restore a competitive marketplace.”

“Google sits at the crossroads of so many areas of our digital economy and has used its dominance to illegally squash competitors, monitor nearly every aspect of our digital lives, and profit to the tune of billions,” said New York Democratic Attorney General Letitia James.

Google responded to the new lawsuit, saying while scrutiny of big companies is important, it 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,” said Adam Cohen, Director, Economic Policy at Google.

This is the third major antitrust lawsuit filed against the search giant this year.

Texas and nine other US states on Wednesday filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing it of monopolising or attempting to monopolise products and services used by advertisers and publishers in online-display advertising.

The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, alleges that Google entered into an anticompetitive agreement with Facebook to boost its online advertising business.

The US Justice Department also filed its own lawsuit against Google in October, along with 11 Republican state attorneys general, focusing on Google’s exclusive contracts with Android smartphone manufacturers and Apple to set its own search engine as the default option on these devices.

Google vehemently defended its position. Claiming that the lawsuit relies on dubious antitrust arguments, the company said that like countless other businesses, it pays to promote its services.

For digital services, when you first buy a device, it has a kind of home screen “eye level shelf.

“On mobile, that shelf is controlled by Apple, as well as companies like AT&T, Verizon, Samsung and LG. On desktop computers that shelf space is overwhelmingly controlled by Microsoft,” argued Kent Walker, SVP of Global Affairs at Google.