I've been using an iPhone 4 for over a year and today picked up my first iPad, a 3rd gen model.
I immediately noticed something wrong with Google searches through Safari. On every other device I use, the search results include relevant discussion forum posts. Additionally, using the "Search Tools" feature, I can specify to show ONLY results from discussion forums. I use this particular filter extensively, not just on my Windows based devices, but also on my iPhone. I expected the iPad to be essentially the same experience as my iPhone.
However, doing a Google search on the iPad does not bring up nearly the same amount of discussion forum results for any given search. I verified this by doing the exact same search on the iPad and my iPhone. I was able to find the "search tools" feature on the iPad, but the "discussions" category is missing. This effectively renders Safari useless to me for the type of browsing I do.
So, I download the Google App. Here the "search tools" does include the "discussions" category, but the browser tab it opens is jerky to the point of being annoying. There is an option to open any given search result in Safari, but that would involve swapping back and forth between two apps to look at links, which isn't acceptable.
I downloaded a free add-supported third party browser, and aside from the ads in the way, this gives the experience I would come to expect on any other device. Google searches are filled with results from message forums, and "discussions" category is available under "search tools." However, I'd have to go for the paid version to get rid of the ads.
I'm having trouble understanding why Google for Safari on iPad would be different than all the other devices out there, including Safari on iPhone. It would be a tragedy to return such a nice device simply because Apple has arbitrarily crippled Google. Yes, I could just buy the third party browser, but I struggled to justify $500 on the iPad vs $250 on the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. Aside from the gorgeous screen, the swaying factor was that I knew (or thought I knew) the quality of the native apps. The attraction of Apple products is supposed to be "it just works" and here I've spent the evening trying - and failing - to get the device to do something that every other internet-connected device in the universe is able to do.
Please - someone tell me my device is defective and I should exchange it. Or that I'm a moron and that I'm missing some easy option to enable this. I want to like this iPad, but my first impression hasn't been that great.