Just another voice to this well-filled thread, probably repeating what several others have said (consider it a vote, then).
1. A huge THANKS for Mint. Its been my first introduction to Linux, and I don't want to look back. Kudos to you.
2. The Minty google search bar and results page is really clunky - ironic, when so much else in Mint looks and works quite smoothly. "Elegance" is part of your slogan, no?
I have unfortunately removed the Mint engine and put back the original. I'd love to help revenue streams on this distro (this service, in fact, because that's what you are doing for me), but if I am going to google (these days I am more often using qrobe.it for increased coverage), I am googling for the familiar functionality its results page offers.
3. Constructive feedback (again, you've perhaps gotten it from others, but I just can't take the time to read through all the posts):
- line up the "image", "scholar", etc etc links, the search options (e.g. "last week" "last year", etc) and a link to settings discretely but clearly on the results page. I use these often (e.g. switch between web, image and scholar), and I want to pilot that from the results not the tiny box (with the irritation of a dropdown menu) up the top.
- for god's sake man! Reduce the size of that Mint logo!! (hyperbole for dramatic effect only)
Generally, it doesn't have to be exactly the same as the original google, but the functionality should be obvious and "right there" on the page.
4. I also think you are missing an opportunity to value-add to this engine. You could have, for example, links to linux help boards, forums, repositories, etc as well - a "linux stuff" link in amongst "image" "video" etc. This would be very useful (I find myself googling for solutions/guidance as a noobie very often). Maybe a link to torrents, too.
Perhaps, too, the option to load several different favorite locales (e.g. for me, an Australian working in Norway, I could use "vanilla" google, google.com.au, and google.no all at the easy click of a link). Maybe even different profiles - e.g. one for work with "strict" filtering for work, and one profile that is more relaxed about such matters. (God. Did I just write that out loud?)
Anyway, offering that kind of utility would be something that makes googling in Mint a plus, over and above other distros and OS choices - not a bad thing, no?
Right now, the "costs" of using this Mint google outweigh the benefits (that, let's be frank, are directly to you and only indirectly to us). It has to be more seamless.
All the above offered in the spirit of constructive feedback.
Good luck, and thanks again!