I realise that the search feature contributes what I believe to be considerable funds to Linux Mint (and I choose to leave it as default for this very reason) however it can confuse and upset certain people so I propose that at some point during or after the install (maybe on Mint Welcome?) in latter versions of Mint that there is a check-box (auto-checked) which will let people choose to have The Mint Custom Google Search or to use the standard Google search.
Maybe stating something like this next to the check-box:
Please understand that by not choosing to use the Mint Search bar you are denying the Linux Mint project a large source of it's income and this could lead to less development in the future due to a lack of funds.However if you still would like to use the default Google search bar please consider a small donation
so what do you think?