As with your iPhone you can only download apps that are in the iTunes app store, you can't download browsers from websites (Mac and PC software aren't compatible with the iPad). There is google chrome app in the store, and there are other browsers as well (popular ones include Atomic Web and iCab Mobile). Safari on the iPad doesn't allow you set a homepage as such, but you can create an iPad homepage shortcut for Safari for a particular site - other browser apps may have a sepcific homepage setting within them.
Also you can't override Safari as being the defaut browser i.e. if you click on a link in an email in the Mail app then it will open that page in Safari.
thanks guys, so when i click on the Safari icon on my desktop i am going to get this boring page, no web access but then I can go to bookmarks and click on the google app....
surely if you have an apple computer and you click on your safari browser it opens up to something?
but you say I can
but you can create an iPad homepage shortcut for Safari for a particular site
so if this is on the screen as an icon to click on and it immediately takes you to google.com, then that is what i would want, i guess i need to get the ipad first, then i can come back to these questions, sounds like ipad and computer arent the same also, that the google app on ipad has to be downloaded, etc
You are correct, the ipad is not a computer so don't expect to do everything the same. There's currently no google maps app for the ipad, but all reports point to one is being worked on. There are plenty of alternatives in the meantime.
so when i click on the Safari icon on my desktop i am going to get this boring page, no web access but then I can go to bookmarks and click on the google app....
If you have no web access, then thats a different problem.
By default Safari's search engine is google, and you can start searching from the search bar at the top. Yes the page will be blank, but ony for as long as it takes for you to type something to search for.
As for other browsers, yes there's Chrome, and Opera available from the AppStore for free.
The iOS will feel pretty similar the iPhone but with a few enhancements. The iPad is closer to the iPhone in how it operates than to a laptop.