i almost think we should abandon the search script entirely, and just have that top link go to google. i've seen pages that have a "search within webpage" and "search the web" option, via google. iirc, talk.origins uses something similar. that would work way better here.
i think it's pretty much what everyone uses anyways. the built-in search feature verily doth suketh. it does some really wacky things, and takes forever to do them.